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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Unemployment drops below 8 percent, but…

(AP Photo)

America’s “official” unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent in September but the number does not reflect the mounting numbers of long-term unemployed who are no longer actively looking for work.

The Labor Department reported Friday that 114,000 jobs were added last month, just a tick below predictions of 115,000 jobs and unemployment dipped to 7.8 percent — the lowest figure in years.

While the report could provide some good news for the Obama administration, which faces voter anger over the nation’s poor economy, it does not ease the public’s overall uneasiness over prospects for the future.  Polls show most Americans feel their economic future is dim.

“The numbers are somewhat skewed because more and more Americans have given up hope of finding jobs,” economist Roger Atkins told Capitol Hill Blue.  “The Labor Department is, no doubt, looking for some good news to give to the President.”

The Labor Department Friday also revised its August jobs number from the previously reported 96,000 upward to 142,000 and changed the July numbers from 141,000 jobs to 181,000.

“Interesting timing,” Atkins noted.

7 thoughts on “Unemployment drops below 8 percent, but…”

  1. You know, Bill, I always wonder why more unemployed aren’t going to trade schools. When I closed up my book store I did an extensive research on the jobs available in our next large city of San Luis Obispo. I instantly learned that my ability to use a word processor was not good enough and a friend of mine who was a police officer with the Paso Robles force, had hired a trainer to bring the whole police force able to use the computers and how they networked with other cities. I asked if I could pay and also get this training. Yes! was his answer. I set aside $250 and open time and I made the 40 mile round trip for several weeks and learned a lot about those machines. My daughter’s boy friend had taught computer skills at Berkeley and set me up with what I would need to get a job using these skills. I started out with DOS and immediately began learning MIcrosoft Word and several other programs. When I did this I brought these skills into the Local Red Cross office and went to work organizing earthquake lists for the seniors, schools, YMCA and school libraries. The deal was that if I could learn these things, anyone could. My age was not a handicap in this respect.

    I think it is difficult for men and women who have established themselves into work mode that served them well but sometimes being over 60 scares many of us to set new skills when needed. It turned out that my own kids were bright and loved training the old mother into new and improved skills. I taught them to surf, play tennis and coached their volley ball teams and they coached my computer skills. When the last of my kids went off to college I was on my own. That was scary.

    Even when my girls went off to Berkeley, there were some trade schools just starting out and today they have trade schools on line. Many are afraid to ask the schools that are now using the television to advertise their schools. I had to rewrite my employment information and took pride in those trade schools that I attended.

    I read a lot of books on marketing skills and how to develop programs for new products. I’ve never been shy about asking questions when a job from the newspapers has something close enough for me to learn. While I was doing this, I also downgraded my living expenses. I ended up in a mobile home park and I love it. The unit is large enough for books and small enough to allow me one plug for my vacuum. My closest neighbor is very concerned about my age and has insisted that I use him and his wife as an emergrency number,. They are delightful people and they bring me awesome chicken enchiladas when I have company. They do a lot of fundraisers for their church and I help them out by pricing and labeling the merchandise. They are my extended family. They both work full time and are lovely people.

    For several years I worked for clothing manufacturer and was trained by a group of girls from Mexico who could out sew me faster than anyone I had ever met. I took charge of their immigration papers and drove them down to the border authorities to keep them up to date and legal. To thank me, they cooked fabulous meals. I like the Mexicans and I was raised with them in Santa Monica. They know how to work and put many of us to shame.

    • I don’t know how much it helped, but I talked to a fairly rabid Republican about the truly stunning work ethic of the unlawful immigrants.

      These people spend to what is them a fortune ($5k is a typical fee) to cross a border while they risk imprisonment or death in order to do a useful job at pay rates a native-born American wouldn’t even bother to sneer at – And the first thing the U.S. government does, when it finds those people willing to risk so much just to work so hard is deport them…

      Heeelllooo…. Not a recipie for long-term success.


      • The ‘fairly rabid Republican’ was a South Carolina doyenne, not filthy rich but definitely upper class, with a large house, another beach house, club memberships, a stable of cars and generous support to charities and her children.

        She agreed with me, after a fashion. Her response was “The Mexicans will do jobs the blacks won’t”.

        At about this time, in the interest of not starting a fight, I dropped the subject.


    • Failure to understand numbers is not affectionately cute. For an informed voter, failure to understand numbers is roughly equivalent to failing to understand which parts of your body make more people, and is even less understandable.

      Failure to ‘understand numbers’ should be viewed with astonishment, corrected through education, and if persisted with, laughed at.


      PS – Of course, it isn’t.

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