The Bureau of Labor Standards reports this morning: “Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 192,000 in March, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 6.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. . . . In March, the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 10.5 million, and the unemployment rate held at 6.7 percent. Both measures have shown little movement since December 2013. Over the year, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate were down by 1.2 million and 0.8 percentage point, respectively.”
We are, in short, treading water.
Certain groups are doing markedly worse, the BLS reports: “The rates for teenagers (20.9 percent), whites (5.8 percent), blacks (12.4 percent), and Hispanics (7.9 percent) showed little or no change. The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 3.7 million, changed little in March; these individuals accounted for 35.8 percent of the unemployed. The number of long-term unemployed was down by 837,000 over the year.”
At some point it may dawn on politicians and the public that, if our economic policies don’t change, neither will the trajectory of the economy. If we want more growth and job creation, we’ll have to break with the policies of the last five years, which include debt accumulation, a growing regulatory burden, lackluster efforts to expand overseas markets and government barriers to domestic energy development.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) makes a good point: “The House has passed bill after bill that helps working middle class Americans get the skills they want, the jobs they desire and the hours they need and yet they all remain stalled in the Senate’s legislative graveyard. The House has passed bills to help the long-term unemployed get necessary training, and to help working moms get the flexible hours they need. Just this week, the House passed a bill to restore hourly wages cut by ObamaCare’s 30 hour work week rule. Hourly workers don’t deserve to have their wages cut by as much as 25% because of ObamaCare. These ObamaCare induced wage cuts hurt the people who most need the extra income. Even Democrats understand these wage cuts hurt, but instead of helping solve the problem, Democrats instead choose to propose policies that would eliminate hundreds of thousands of additional jobs.”
A real shift in economic policy isn’t likely to happen until President Obama leaves office. Granted, these House measures aren’t earth-shaking, but they are credible efforts to address the stagnant economy and lift burdens on hiring. What is Harry Reid’s excuse for doing nothing?