Friday, June 02, 2006

Hard Work if you can get it

Amongst all the saber rattling over Iran and Iraq, other important things can slip below the radar screen. I am always intrigued by one of these, the frequently quoted statistic of "new jobs." It seems that if this statistic is good, it is quoted ad nauseum, but if it is bad, of course, it is sort of passed over with a "Ho, Hum." That's politics, you'll say, and you'll be right.

The most recent statistic is only 75,000 new jobs in May. This doesn't sound too bad until you look at the census. There are about 20 million young men and women between the ages of 20 and 24 in the U.S., or 4 million per year. While usually concentrated in the summer (after schools graduate), this potential new worker population averages about 300,000 a month. It is hard to estimate the number of retirees, but there are about 2 million 65 year olds, or a potential 166,000 a month coming out of the workforce. The difference is 134,000 brand new jobs needed. Of course people occasionally losetheir jobs and have to find a new one. This accounts for the actual new jobs predicted for May of 170,000.

Ho, hum. Just off by 100,000. Wouldn't mean we're going into a recession, would it?

Bomb Iran.

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