President-elect Donald Trump has promised to get jobs back to Americans. A look at the most recent jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that Trump faces big challenges.
Every month, the financial news focuses on the BLS headline-making figures, but leaves the more telling data for Wall Street analysts to dig out. The November report, for example, showed that the economy created 178,000 nonfarm payroll jobs, a mediocre number, and that the official unemployment rate dropped from 4.9 percent to 4.6 percent.
Since 5 percent has been the traditional guideline rate to determine full employment, many government economists have applauded President Barack Obama for bringing the nation back from the brink of financial disaster.
But last month, the working-age population increased by 219,000. The 178,000 job creation total doesn’t keep pace with working-age population growth, a very bad indicator.
Meanwhile, the size of the labor force, defined as those working or actively looking for work, dwindled by 226,000. And in a particularly ominous sign, the total of 18- to 64-year olds not in the labor force reached nearly 49 million, about 52 percent of that demographic.
A key indicator, the labor force participation rate, remained near its 40-year low, 62.7 percent. If only 62.7 percent are in the labor force, then 37.3 percent are out of the labor force, which means that Trump’s “false economy” claim that he made in the summer is, at least on one level, correct.
In June, Trump told CBS on “Face the Nation” that the real unemployment rate is about 40 percent.
Another Trump pledge is that he will create a sensible immigration plan that will work on Americans’ behalf.