The Lower Unemployment Rate is a Recovery – for the Top 10%

NEP’s Pavlina Tcherneva appears on The Real News on October 5, 2014. The topic of discussion is the slow recovery and why monetary policy that is directed at finance and not job creation has this effect.

5 responses to “The Lower Unemployment Rate is a Recovery – for the Top 10%

  1. And why do our current government policies target resources to the financial sectors and the top tier earners? Because that is who funds the elections of our government representatives. In other words government representatives steer resources to the sectors and people that they represent – the ones that get them elected. To the bottom 90% and non-financial sectors government representatives present rhetoric, fallacious dogma, and rationalization not policy.

  2. I enjoyed your talk. I do, however, have a few suggestions. It is, of course, right to point out the unfair treatment represented by the recent financial bailouts and the gains the markets have made since then. But I think more time should be devoted to pointing out the losses in jobs (still), and the related impact on average wages and the policies that might put an end to it.

    For example, the official U4 unemployment rate of 5.9% greatly underestimates the real unemployed of 12%. The real numbers of unemployed are upwards of twenty to twenty five million. That level of unemployment leads directly to our level of poverty and despair. And in large part is visited upon the youth. ( I wonder how much despair has been visited on the youth of Iraq from wars and climate change. )

    Your work on the federal job guarantee should be put forward, not only in the heritage of the WPA or Keynes but as a support mechanism to ensure unemployment is kept at levels approaching 2%. I know, I know, the NAIRU bug a boo. But you have to take it on and call it for what it is. A scare tactic brought about by those who would rather not have a tight labor market to deal with and, in any case, is easily handled by small increases in taxes. And the “we will run out of money argument” or “can’t afford it” you should rightly laugh at before explaining how the feds own the printing press. (Forget the computer analogy. Printing is more easily understood.) Besides a job guarantee will save nearly all unemployment benefits.

    Anyhow, I personally grow weary of living with policies that ignore the cost to our society of lost productivity and destroyed lives. We cannot afford it any longer or the fools who will not see.

    • Thank you, Jonf. Well said.

    • potomacoracle


      The headline UE rate is U3 not U4. If UE was measured with the pre 1994 formula the rate would be 23%. The seasonally-adjusted SGS Alternate Unemployment Rate reflects current unemployment reporting methodology adjusted for SGS-estimated long-term discouraged workers, who were defined out of official existence in 1994. That estimate is added to the BLS estimate of U-6 unemployment, which includes short-term discouraged workers.

      The U-3 unemployment rate is the monthly headline number. The U-6 unemployment rate is the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) broadest unemployment measure, including short-term discouraged and other marginally-attached workers as well as those forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment.

  3. We can count how many jobless people are receiving UI. We used to include welfare statistics in our jobless count, but that’s gone. Many low wage workers are a single job loss from losing everything, with no way back up. How do you get a job once you no longer have a home address, phone, bus fare? What becomes of those who have been pushed out of the job market? To my knowledge, they (the jobless poor) aren’t included in any statistics.