September’s job report boasted the lowest unemployment rate in a year at 5.8% — great news, right?
Not quite. As Americans have learned in the past six years, the unemployment rate only paints part of the picture about our economy. And no matter what the unemployment numbers say, Americans sure don’t feel like the economy is improving — 56% of Americans say they are “falling behind financially,” and economic optimism is dismal.
Looking deeper into the folds of numbers shows why. The labor force participation rate is around 62% — continuing the trend of a three-decade low. Far too many Americans gave up on their job search, and nearly 9.1 million Americans are still looking for work, while 7.1 million had to settle for part-time jobs.
And as the Wall Street Journal points out, many of these new September hires are seasonal positions:
A big chunk of the jobs created this month appear to be the kinds of seasonal hiring you expect this time of year, which is fine, but these aren’t solid, long-term, raise-a-family situations… All in all, seems this report didn’t change much.
And for a majority of Americans, September showed even worse rates. The number of women in the labor force is the lowest we’ve seen in 30 years. For millennials, the unemployment rate remains around 40%!
Michael R. Strain, a Resident Scholar at AEI highlighted the reality for many low-wage workers:
Employment rates for… College grads=73% Some college=63% HS grads=55% HS dropouts=41% We need to do more to help low-skilled workers.
— Michael R. Strain (@MichaelRStrain) October 3, 2014
But the President’s weak economy does more harm than stunt job growth — it affects wages, too. Those who were able to hold onto their positions watched average hourly earnings fall by a penny.
Although some may celebrate an unemployment rate under 6%, they are forgetting the 9 million Americans who are still looking for work — Americans who are still struggling to support themselves and their families. Our economy still needs at least 6 million long-term, good-paying jobs to return to pre-recession levels. We have a lot of work to do.
House Republicans have been unwavering in their mission to grow a healthy economy and create good-paying jobs. Over forty House-passed solutions are sitting in the Senate — solutions that would put Americans back to work in good-paying, long-term positions. September’s report serves as a reminder of how many Americans are still waiting, looking for solutions. House Republicans have acted, and will continue to push forward with American solutions — we are asking the Democratic-controlled Senate and the President to do the same.