5/3/2008 8:23 AM
Yesterday, May 2, 2008, the US Labor Department issued its monthly Jobs Report for April 2008. The Report estimates that “only” 20,000 more US net jobs were lost in the month. Hey, the recession is over, right?Not so fast!
Lest we forget, April marked the fourth consecutive month of declining US jobs. During that 4-month period, 260,000 net jobs were lost –- an average of 65,000 jobs lost per month. Since it takes 127,000 new jobs every month just to stay even, that means the US has fallen behind some 192,000 jobs in each of the last four months, or 768,000 for the 4-month period.
And as usual, April’s mix of jobs lost & gained was telling: 46,000 US manufacturing
workers were laid off last month; 326,000 such positions have been lost over the last year. Construction
lost 61,000 jobs. In April alone, that’s 107,000 more workers lost in these two key wealth-producing sectors where CAD/CAM and AEC must succeed.
Then how did the US lose only 20,000 net jobs in April? Health care added 37,000. Restaurants and bars added 18,000 jobs. Business services added 39,000 jobs, and of course the government again added workers.
At the end of April 2008, there are 7.6 million US people unemployed, up from 6.8 million unemployed only a year ago.
The US economy barely grew at an estimated snail’s pace of just 0.6% in Q1 2008. It marked the second quarter in a row of such feeble growth. Meanwhile, US wages and benefits were down 0.6% in Q1 2008.
Also, US consumers have understandably turned more cautious. Their spending rose at just a meager 1% clip in Q1 2008, as soaring energy and food prices are straining everyone's wallets. That’s down from a 2.3% growth rate and was the slowest since Q2 2001 -- when the US was suffering through W’s first recession. No wonder a growing number of economists believe the US economy is now in recession and is contracting.
Don’t spend those “stimulus” rebate checks all in one place, folks!
Finally, we cannot let May 1st go by without noting that it was the dubious anniversary of W’s declaration of “Mission Accomplished in IRAQ” … just 1825 days ago and still counting. An increase in American forces last year initially produced a temporary decline in insurgent attacks. But such attacks in April 2008 killed more than 50 US troops — the highest US death toll for a single month since last September. Nevertheless, W is still paying some 70,000 Iraqi insurgents $10 a day each not to fight Americans.