Look, the guy was dealt a difficult hand, no question about it. But he’s had three years, his policies have failed. Rather than blame others … maybe offer some fresh solutions to the problems that we face. But that’s not going to happen between now and election day.Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush • Expressing disappointment that President Obama continues to point the finger at his brother, former President George W. Bush Sunday. Bush, who made the comments during an interview on “Meet The Press” on Sunday, also discussed his decision not to enter the 2012 presidential race, a move that both shocked and confused many within the GOP, citing a lack of motivation as the top reason he chose not to run for the nation’s highest office. source (via • follow)
» And they have company, too: San Bernardino, population 202,000, is not a small city. Nor is Stockton, population 291,000, which announced its intention to declare bankruptcy last month. Both fell on hard times after a boom-and-bust period. The much-smaller Mammoth Lakes also filed for bankruptcy protection recently, but unlike the recession-related reasons for the other two cities, their reason was lawsuit-related. (That city owes $43 million in a breach-of-contract lawsuit to a developer, which is far more than their yearly operating budget.) Anyone want to take bets on which California city falls prey to bankruptcy protection next, if any? (Edit: Spelling)
» Does little improvement = decline? That’s Ezra Klein’s argument on the report. “In this economy, little or no change isn’t good enough,” he says. “We added 80,000 jobs in June. That’s not enough to keep up with population growth. So, in the context of our growing workforce, the labor market lost ground last month.”
» Editor’s note: And because this comes up EVERY SINGLE MONTH, the unemployment rate above is the U3 unemployment rate, the standard that the Bureau of Labor Statistics uses. If you use the U6 unemployment rate (which includes people unemployed but not currently looking for work, or working part-time for economic reasons), it jumps to 14.9 percent, which is up from last month.
» “All that’s left is sadness.”: Stockton’s failure to keep its budget in line is a bit of a lingering effect from the mid-2000s housing boom and later recession. With economic growth built on credit and expensive projects (including a sports arena) built during the stronger times, the city’s fall during the recession — it has the second-highest rate of foreclosures in the country — hit particularly hard. The city has stopped making bond payments, and on Tuesday, the city council voted to file for bankruptcy protection.
If the same percentage of adults were in the workforce today as when Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 11.1 percent. If the percentage was where it was when George W. Bush took office, the unemployment rate would be 13.2 percent.Ezra Klein • Remarking on declining labor force participation in the US. It’s often noted that official unemployment numbers understate the real percentage of people out of work, as they only tally people actively searching for a job. One consequence of this is that when labor force participation decreases—that is, when unemployed folks just give up and stop looking for work—employment actually “increases.” That’s why only 115,000 jobs were added last month, yet unemployment decreased from 8.2% to 8.1%. Since Barack Obama took office, labor force participation has declined 2%. It’s now at 63.6% which, Klein notes, is “a level not seen since the early days of the Reagan administration.” Here’s a chart. source (via • follow)
I keep hearing the president say he’s responsible for keeping the country out of a Great Depression. No, no, no, that was President George W. Bush and Hank Paulson.Mitt Romney • At a town hall meeting today. We’re no political strategists, but we’re wondering how helpful it is for a presidential candidate to make a statement now, in 2012, that’s both pro-George W. Bush and pro-bailout. TARP, for instance, is currently sitting with a net -13 approval rating. Not exactly a winning issue. source (via • follow)
I don’t blame him for the recession and for the decline, what I blame him for is having it going so long, going so deep.Mitt Romney • Talking about how much blame Obama should get for the recession.
» Tough cultural conditions to blame: With a high pay gap between female and male workers (females make less), a switch from traditional manufacturing to service industries, an aging population, a slowing birth rate, and a move among Japanese couples to marry later, Japan is quickly facing a bit of a cultural shift in terms of who has a job and who doesn’t. By 2020, estimates say, the number of unemployed men vs. unemployed women could become even more pronounced.
» Happy New Year, indeed. Starting Jan. 1, San Francisco’s minimum hourly wage will jump above the $10 mark for the first time. That’s about $3 higher than the federal minimum wage and higher than anywhere else in the country, due to the fact that the progressive city ties its minimum wage to inflation and the quite-high cost of living in the area. But with wage hikes, various fees and the sagging economy, employers might have to start laying off workers again to keep up.
» Such evocative language in the source story: But before you get too excited about those three-tenths of one percent, just keep in mind the text that AFP used here: “The better-than-expected figure is unlikely to have a major impact on confidence in the enfeebled US economy, but tints the backdrop in a slight less gloomy hue.”