Tag Archive for Bill Barclay

Commentary on the October 2014 BLS Jobs Report

On Nov 7th, three days after the 2014 midterm elections, the BLS released its Employment Situation Report for Oct 2014. The numbers are simple and not dramatically different from those that CPEG has analyzed for the past several months.

Overview

First, about 214,000 new jobs were created, continuing the string of net private job creation to 56 months, a new record.

Second, leisure and hospitality, health care and social assistance, retail trade and temporary help services – in that order – accounted for almost 3 of every 5 new jobs in October. Over the past year these four job categories accounted for almost half of all new jobs.

Third, the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 5.8%.

Fourth, the labor force participation rate remains very low at 62.8% although the employment/population ratio has risen by 1% over the past year.

Fifth, looking over the longer time span, the “Obama economy” has, to date generated more than 4.5 million new jobs vs the “Bush economy” new job creation of 1.5 million.

Sixth, although not part of the jobs report analysis, federal deficit is below 2% of GDP – lower than the 40 year average.

Few of the voters in the 2014 elections could have told you any of the foregoing – and some would have vehemently denied at least the last two points.

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CPEG’s Bill Barclay at D.C. Jobs Summit

On July 8 – 9 CPEG joined members of Congress, representatives of community groups and union members from around the country for a “Jobs Briefing” in Washington D.C. Bill Barclay was on the panel analyzing the current jobs situation, outlining policies to address continued high unemployment and assessing our experiences organizing the unemployed. His comments are below.

I’m pleased to be at this jobs briefing as both a founding member of, and representing, the Chicago Political Economy Group. CPEG developed and published a comprehensive jobs proposal in 2008, and we have worked with the staff of Rep. John Conyers to include many of the same ideas in HR 1000. I’m also here as a Democratic Socialists of America member, happy to say that DSA was one of the first national organizations to endorse the legislation proposed by Rep. Conyers.

I’m going to consider three points in my remarks. First, what is happening to the US labor market during this Long Depression, a more appropriate title for the period we are in than recovery from something called the “Great Recession”; second, what is the role and importance of a financial transaction tax in the financing of a jobs program sufficient to the problems we face; and third, why did the efforts of several of us in 2009-10 in Chicago to organize the unemployed failed but why the situation may be different today.

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Commentary on the November 2013 BLS Jobs Report

The markets – Dow is up more than 150 points – and the media – “economy set to add most jobs since 2005” – liked today’s jobs report: 203,000 jobs created in November 2013. And, of course, we should be glad over 200,000 people had jobs in November who didn’t have them in October. But does this mean that the economy is up and running for us? Perhaps the best way to answer that question is to take three dates: Nov 2007, the last month before what has been labeled the “great recession,” June 2009, the official end of the “great recession”, and today and look at the job numbers. The table below provides that comparison (all numbers in 000s, population and labor force are people 16 and over, seasonally adjusted).

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CPEG Presentations: Jobs, FTT, and Labor in Wisconsin

Members of the Chicago Political Economy Group recently gave several workshop presentations which are now available online.

At the NATO People’s Counter Summit in Chicago, CPEG’s Bill Barclay (along with Susan Hurley, Director of Chicago Jobs with Justice) conducted a workshop on a proposed Financial Transaction Tax for Illinois. His powerpoint, “A Speculation Sales Tax for Illinois” is now available for download here (.ppt).

Other CPEG members at the summit presented a seminar entitled “Confronting the Job Crisis“, focused on three issues: jobs, taxes and political mobilization. The workshop was covered nicely by the Red Line Project Blog.

At the Community Media Workshop, during a workshop on “The Great Wisconsin Resistance”, CPEG’s Mel Rothenberg presented his discussion paper “Labor and Occupy: Insights from Wisconsin“. The paper examines the role of contemporary trade unions in a revival of a mass political left versus their role as the center of a revived social movement. It is now available for download here (.pdf).

New CPEG Working Paper – ‘Housing: The Root of it All’

Sometimes it seems as if the housing bubble (which was the trigger for the ongoing Long Depression, or as some call it, the Great Recession) has been forgotten. That is very unfortunate – both for the success of policies designed to restart the US economy and for building a politics that could change the US political economy to benefit the 99% rather than the 1%. Authored by CPEG’s Bill Barclay, this new working paper examines the political economy of housing as the root of the Long Depression.

The paper begins by summarizing the scope of the existing housing catastrophe and then provides an overview of the policies and practices that created the housing bubble and collapse. The final two sections describe the work of the Home Owners Loan Corporation in the 1930s/40s and, using this model, outlines some possible policies to address the housing problem we face today.

Read the Working Paper (PDF)

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