Our Morbid Economy

The monthly jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was already bad enough.

Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 131,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Government employment fell by 202,000 in July, largely reflecting the loss of 143,000 temporary workers hired for Census 2010. Private-sector payroll employment edged up by 71,000.

And meanwhile the estimate of jobs lost in June was revised upward to 221,000 from 125,000. That adds up to 352,000 jobs lost in the last two months.


Incomes also stagnated in June, failing to increase for the first time since September, compared with a 0.2 percent gain projected by the survey median. Wages and salaries in June fell 0.1 percent, the first drop since September.


The number of contracts to purchase previously owned houses fell 2.6 percent in June, indicating demand kept unraveling after the expiration of a homebuyer tax credit. The index of pending home resales dropped to 75.7, the lowest level since data began in 2001, figures from the National Association of Realtors showed. Economists projected sales would rebound 4 percent following a 30 percent plunge in May that was also the biggest on record.


The Commerce Department reported that factory orders declined 1.2 percent in June to a seasonally adjusted $406.4 billion. Analysts expected a smaller drop. The agency also revised May’s decline to a sharper 1.8 percent instead of 1.4 percent.


In the first half of 2010, more than 1.6 million U.S. properties were hit with foreclosure filings, which include bank repossessions, default notices and auction sale notices. That’s up 8 percent from the first six months of 2009 and puts the U.S. on pace to top 3 million filings this year, including more than 1 million bank repossessions. While subprime borrowers and bad loans led the surge in foreclosures in 2008 and 2009, this year’s wave comes from homeowners who’ve lost their jobs.


Under-employment, as measured by Gallup, was 18.4% in July, essentially unchanged from 18.3% at the end of June and in mid-July. Underemployment peaked at 20.4% in April.

Americans aged 18 to 29 had easily the highest underemployment rate in July of any age group, at 28.4%.

28.4% under-employment for the kiddies!

And of course that reminds me of my favorite new song, which we might as well adopt as the national anthem.



  1. And now for an overview from a dying magazine.

    With the exception of the top 10 percent of earners in the United States, wages have been flat since the 1970s (indeed, during the last period of U.S. expansion, between 2002 and 2007, median household income dropped by $2,000). The reasons for all this are well known-changes in the tax system, the death of unions, globalization (that emerging middle class can now perform jobs higher up the food chain), and the rise of labor-saving technology.

    None of these trends show any sign of reversing. Not only are businesses rather than consumers doing the spending in the U.S. this year, but much of what they are buying is technology-software and services from high-tech firms that will help them, at least in the short term, continue to boost productivity without hiring more workers.


  2. A government of the people, by the people and for the people = democratic socialism.

    A government of the corporations, by the corporations and for the corporations = democratic fascism (democratic, in name only, because the elections are a farce).

    I forgot.  What kind of democracy are we now?

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