Solis gives a Chip Diller reprise on jobs

Via The Right Scoop, Labor Secretary Hilda Solis gives it the old Chip Diller try in attempting to argue that the job market is growing. The Associated Press interview with Solis is a lengthy dissertation on technology, green jobs, and just about everything except the fact that the population participation in the workforce has hit 58.5%, which is the only reason why the topline unemployment number has dropped. Solis talks up the addition of manufacturing jobs, apparently unaware that her colleagues at Commerce had announced a decline in factory orders back to March 2009 levels:

Solis isn’t fooling her hosts, as this AP analysis shows:

A second straight month of lackluster hiring by American businesses is sapping strength from the economic rebound.

The jobless rate fell to 9.5 percent in June, still far too high to signal a healthy economy. It came in slightly lower than the month before only because more than a half-million people gave up looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed.

The private sector added just 83,000 jobs for the month. Looked at from that angle or almost any other, from a teetering housing market to falling factory orders, the recovery is limping along as it enters the year’s second half. And that is when the benefits of most of the government’s stimulus spending will begin to wear off. …

The jobless rate did come down in June from 9.7 percent the month before. But that was mainly because 652,000 people abandoned their job searches.

Even among Americans with secure jobs, confidence is fading. One gauge of consumer confidence fell in June to about 53, down nearly 10 points in a single month. And it’s well below the reading of 90 typically seen in a healthy economy.

Add to that jitters over Europe’s debts, an edgy stock market and cautious consumer spending, and the result is an economy essentially moving sideways. It’s no surprise that businesses are reviewing their orders and seeing no reason to add to payrolls.

The real problem is shown in the continuing decline of the civilian population participation in the workforce.  Using BLS data, I’ve created this chart showing the overall participation percentage since the start of the recession in December 2007.  The red star marks the passage of Porkulus:

Peak participation in the last decade came in April 2000, when it hit 64.7%.  Post-9/11, we peaked at 63.4% in March 2007, just before the economy began to slide.  In between, we never went below 62%, which we hit September 2003 when the media started complaining about the “jobless recovery.”

Granted, this is a much worse recession, mainly because of the government interventions that caused it.  But what is painfully clear is that the costly intervention of Porkulus demanded by Barack Obama and Congressional Democrats has done nothing to create jobs.  Instead, the percentage of people in the workforce has continued to decline all during the period when Porkulus was supposedly saving or creating jobs, with only a dead-cat bounce in the first quarter of this year.  That weak bounce has already begun dissipating, and for two straight months this indicator has declined again.

Unemployment is much worse than the topline number indicates, and what little job growth has occurred hasn’t kept up with population growth.  Even the AP now expects economic news to get worse rather than better.