Today’s jobs numbers for October aren’t as horrible as they could be: The unemployment rate decreased from 9.1 to 9.0. Also, average hourly earnings increased by 5 cents, if you can call that an increase, to $23.19.
We should celebrate that the private sector added thousands of new jobs. That’s great.
But… and I hate to be Debbie Downer… we have to evaluate this slightly optimistic news in light of other not-so-good news.
On Wednesday the Fed revised its economic outlook, now saying that the economy will expand no more than 1.7 percent in all of 2011. The projected growth rate for 2012 was revised as well, to 2.5-2.9 percent, nearly a percentage point down from the June projection.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said growth would be “frustratingly slow.” I’m sure he feels frustrated at work, but imagine how much more frustrated millions of Americans feel NOT at work.
We can continue to force employers to rely on slight upward ticks in consumer spending – as we’re sure to see during the holidays, and as we saw over the summer months – but this will only result in jobs numbers like we saw in October. This might ease the jobs crisis, but not solve it.
Americans want big changes. They want unemployment slashed back down to 5 percent; they want a booming economic recovery; they want wage growth that they can feel.
So how do we get there? Only with big changes in Washington. We should ask our leaders to extremely reform and simplify the tax code. We should ask them to reform entitlements and work toward eliminating the deficit. We should ask them to beat back the regulatory state and stop scaring employers through attacks like those on Boeing, Easy Bake, and Gibson.
Well, that’s my jobs plan.