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Why Today’s Jobs Report Shouldn’t Have Surprised Anyone

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Too many politicians and average citizens have been playing a game of ‘Let’s pretend.’
Pretense is the foundation of acting. In An Actor Prepares, director and actor Konstantin Stanislavski noted that the big question for someone creating a role to ask is “What if?” That is the technical theater term for playing pretend. What if you actually were a ruling monarch? A cat burglar? An accountant? What if everyone in a country had to pretend that the Emperor strode about in his birthday suit? Only to ask another variation of the same question: What if a young child pointed out the obvious, that the ruler of the land was stark naked. Today’s jobs report has made the economic version of that question unnecessary. The current state of the union’s drafty circumstances is now more obvious. Employment rose by 245,000 in November, which was “short of expectations,” according to a statement from Allianz Investment Management senior investment strategist Charlie Ripley. As the Wall Street Journal reported, economists were looking for 440,000 jobs. Former Obama administration economist Charlie Anderson observed that the country has 9.8 million fewer jobs than it did before the start of the pandemic. That is still a bigger job loss then during the entire Great Recession. The U-3 unemployment rate—which ignores the status of millions and so understates the jobs situation—did drop to 6.7%. The reason for the latter was a drop in labor force participation, as Oxford Economics explained The U-6 unemployment rate, which includes people marginally attached to the labor force and those who work part-time because they can’t find full-time employment, is 12%. Even by U-3 standards, unemployment for Hispanics is half again higher than for Whites, while for Blacks it is almost double. Things are also worse than they appear on the surface, as that Journal story stated: If anything, the current state of affairs is worse than what was depicted in the job report. The surveys that the jobs and unemployment figures are based upon measured the state of things in the pay periods included in the week ended Nov.

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