Click below to read the Spring 2017 edition of CPEG Notes, a series of quarterly analyses of current economic reality by the Chicago Political Economy Group. In this edition: Luis Diaz-Perez on the early days of the Trump Administration, Joe Persky summarizes the bleak domestic economic scene, Bruce Parry and Bill Barclay tackle the political crisis and party system fiasco represented by last year’s presidential election results, Ron Baiman explores how macro-economic stagnation and recovery play out in employment terms, and Dr. Parry’s second contribution looks at how computerization, automation and other technological trends limit global employment possibilities.
Tag Archive for Recession
At a July 19th Community Forum entitled The Illinois Budget Crisis, Workers’ Rights and Revenue, CPEG’s Ron Baiman gave a presentation on how a LaSalle Street Tax (also known as a Financial Transaction Tax), could save the Chicago and Illinois budgets and clean up exchanges such as the Chicago Mercantile.
In addition to the potential for billions in revenue for ailing budgets, Baiman noted that, in direct contradiction to frequent fears cited by opponents of the tax, “There are Financial Transactions Taxes on various financial markets in the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Brazil, France, Singapore and other countries; in most cases the tax is at a higher rate than proposed under [current legislation]. These are all large markets that have not been hurt by the tax and exchanges have not moved away.”
Download the full presentation (.pptx)
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.
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.
In its September 2014 Jobs Report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics once again documented the persistent and pernicious effects of the Lesser Depression, which began to take shape when financial services firm Lehman Brothers collapsed and filed for bankruptcy in September 2008.
Exactly six years on, labor force participation continues to decrease, dropping to 62.7 percent last month, the lowest level recorded since 1978. Nonetheless, the BLS boasts the official unemployment rate declined from 6.1 percent in August to last month’s 5.9 percent, with employment increasing by 248,000 jobs. Retail trade added 35,300 jobs; health care brought on 23,000, with 7,000 Americans going into home health care services; state governments added 22,000 jobs; and, notching another monthly increase, leisure and hospitality added another 33,000 jobs. Curiously, performing arts and spectator sports showed up with 7,200 jobs. However, when it comes to jobs that produce tradable goods, the paltry numbers more clearly illustrate the US economy’s weaknesses. For instance, last month, job losses were noted in computer and electronic products, semiconductors and electronic components, paper and paper products. Overall, manufacturing only added 4,000 jobs across the country. In September 2014, just as it has since the onset of the Lesser Depression, the US economy remained torpid.
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.