Quality of Life Indicators in Context by Hazel Henderson
Update: April 2014
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 192,000 in March, with new upward revisions from 175,000 to 197,000 in February, with further upward revisions from 129,000 to 144,000 in January. The unemployment rate remained at 6.7% while the civilian labor force participation rate inched up to 63.2.%. The private sector gains show the recovery is still on track. Employment gains averaged 182,000 jobs per month in 2013, and those in January and February were 37,000 higher than previously reported. It remains difficult to find information on government jobs which decreased by 12,000 in January, and in February 9,000 federal jobs were lost, balanced by an increase of 8,000 jobs in local government – all this now included in the main BLS summary. Continued losses of government jobs are key to understanding the state of the recovery. Over the past year, federal jobs fell by 85,000. Total government jobs in March are provisionally estimated at 21,841,100, an increase of 9,000 over January. The continuing uncertainty in Congress will have further adverse consequences – both domestically and on the USA’s reputation worldwide.
The some ten percent of Americans who gained from the stock markets rise were doing well with jobs in financial activities up in 2013. February saw increases of 79,000 jobs in business and professional services with another 57,000 added in March. The rest who rely on lower-wage jobs in the real economy for their income had their spending constrained. This fueled the demand for restoring purchasing power to minimum wages, including the White House increase to $10.10 an hour. Cuts in government jobs (mostly in the Pentagon) should remind Congress of the consequences of budget cutting and the sequester – just as we have witnessed in Europe.
GDP-growth increased at an annual rate of 3.2% in the fourth quarter of 2013. GDP for Q3 was reported as 4.1%, better than the 2.5% growth for Q2 of 2013. Long-term unemployment increased in February to 3.8 million – still unacceptably high. Read more