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Old 04-07-2006, 07:16 PM   #1
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March Unemployment Rate: 4.7%

The March Unemployment rate in the United States dropped to 4.7% as over 200,000 jobs were added. Unemployment levels are now fast approaching the lowest levels of the Clinton administration which was a record for the country. The Unemployment level for all of year 2000 was 4% with one of the summer months dropping to 3.8%. The current unemployment rate will likely fall to 4.4% or 4.3% before the end of 2006. 2007 could potentially see unemployment levels equal to the best single year of the Clinton administration.
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Old 04-07-2006, 07:40 PM   #2
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Here's a necessary appendix to these stats:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/05/bu...leonhardt.html

Quote:
The Economics of Henry Ford May Be Passé

HENRY FORD was 50 years old, and not all that different from a lot of other successful businessmen, when he summoned the Detroit press corps to his company's offices on Jan. 5, 1914. What he did that day made him a household name.

Mr. Ford announced that he was doubling the pay of thousands of his employees, to at least $5 a day. With his company selling Model T's as fast as it could make them, his workers deserved to share in the profits, he said.

His rivals were horrified. The Wall Street Journal accused him of injecting "Biblical or spiritual principles into a field where they do not belong." The New York Times correspondent who traveled to Detroit to interview him that week asked him if he was a socialist.

But the public loved it. The country was then suffering a deep recession, and the Ford news seemed to offer hope. Within 24 hours, 10,000 men were lined up outside the Ford employment office in Michigan. The following year, Mr. Ford was mentioned as a future presidential contender.

The mythology around this story holds that Mr. Ford wanted to pay his workers enough so they could afford the products they were making.

In fact, that wasn't his original reasoning. But others made the point, and, in time, it became part of Mr. Ford's rationale as well. The idea became a linchpin in an industrial philosophy known as Fordism.

More production could lead to better wages, which in turn would lead to more spending by the public, yet more production and eventually even higher wages.

"One's own employees ought to be one's own best customers," Mr. Ford said years later. "Paying high wages," he concluded, "is behind the prosperity of this country."

This turned into a pillar of 20th-century economic wisdom. It's time to ask, though, whether Mr. Ford's big idea is as ill suited to this century as his car company seems to be.

By any reasonable standard, the last few years have been bad ones for most people's paychecks. The average hourly wage of rank-and-file workers — a group that makes up 80 percent of the work force — is slightly lower than it was four years ago, once inflation is taken into account. That's right: Most Americans have taken a pay cut since 2002.

But you would never know it by looking at the headline numbers on economic growth. From the standpoint of the broad national economy — the value of the goods and services the country produces — the last few years have been stellar. Despite two wars, soaring oil prices and business scandals, the economy has been growing more than 3 percent a year.

Henry Ford would have no idea what to make of this.

What was so comforting about Fordism was that it suggested that the economy operated on a virtuous, self-reinforcing cycle. Only when the middle class did well could the country do well. And as the country grew ever richer, so would the middle class.

In the last few years, however, the economy has kept growing in large part because high-income families — the top 20 percent, roughly — have done so well and have been such devoted spenders. Globalization and new technology have helped many white-collar workers make more money, even as those same changes have closed factories and depressed wages for others. Stock portfolios and houses on the coasts, meanwhile, are much more valuable than they once were, making their owners more willing to spend.

In fact, well-off families, not cash-short ones, have been the ones increasing their borrowing and cutting their savings the most in recent years, according to the Federal Reserve. In 1992, the top fifth of households, as ranked by income, accounted for 42 percent of consumer spending. By 2000, the share had grown to almost 46 percent, and it is probably not much different today. That may sound like a small change, but it's an enormous amount of money, a shift of $300 billion a year in spending from the poor and middle class to the affluent.

In Michigan, Ford and General Motors have been cutting thousands of jobs, creating the country's sickest local economy and hurting even well-to-do suburbs. Yet the Suburban Collection, a car dealership north of Detroit, sold 90 Bentleys last year, up from 70 in 2004. David Butler, a manager there, said he expected to sell more than 100 Bentleys this year. The car costs at least $180,000. The dealership also opened a Lamborghini showroom in January. It is true that Rolls-Royces aren't selling very well, but the main reason seems to be that Mr. Butler's customers don't feel comfortable being seen in a $300,000 car when the state is suffering so badly. "It's not that they can't afford it," he said. "It's because of the image it would give."

Wages are likely to rise slightly in 2006, but stagnation seems to be the norm over the long term. Except for a span of a few years in the late 1990's, the hourly pay of most workers has done no better than inflation for the last 30 years. Even some Democrats, who have long embraced Fordism, are coming to the conclusion that Mr. Ford's reassuring cycle is not the only thing that can keep the American economy humming. "You don't need an equitable distribution to have a sustainable recovery," said Jared Bernstein, a liberal economist in Washington.

Politically, though, I am not so sure that the current trends are sustainable. Before the 1990's boom lifted wages, stagnating pay had helped cause a series of upheavals: Bill Clinton's election, the Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan phenomena, the Republican takeover of Congress. Today, with the boom fading from memory, protectionism is on the rise, and President Bush's approval ratings are miserable.

So it seems as if now would be a good time to start talking about what to do. There has never been a shortage of ideas: helping more teenagers to finish college, training middle-age workers to switch careers, embarking on public projects like better highways and high-speed trains. Or we could pretend it's still 1914.
Nice to see that we're nothing but pawns for the wealthy.

Melon
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Old 04-07-2006, 08:09 PM   #3
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You want fries with that?
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Old 04-07-2006, 08:52 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by melon
Here's a necessary appendix to these stats:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/05/bu...leonhardt.html



Nice to see that we're nothing but pawns for the wealthy.

Melon
A gain in spending power by the top 20% does not in of itself equal a loss for those below the top 20%. The average American enjoy's one of the highest standards of living in the world as shown on the annual UN Human Development Index. In addition, just look at all the things your average household now has compared to one from 30 years ago. 30 years ago, the average household had no computers, no internet, no cell phone, no game system, no small portable electronic gadgets, half as many cars, no VCRs, no cable, just a TV with rabbit ears and maybe 4 or 5 channels and the list can go on. What many young people consider to be a normal part of the day did not exist at all back then. Today your average household has all these things, and no, the government does not provide them for free.

As unemployment drops closer to 4%, available labor will became so scarce that business's will start to raise wages in order to compete to get the remaining available workers. This happened in 1999 and 2000 and even featured programs by some companies to bring young people from Europe to work for the summer.

The average American today enjoys one of the highest standards of living anyone has achieved in the history of the planet. U2's American fans are not all part of the top 20% income bracket in America, in fact I'd say the vast majority are not. Yet, they bought U2 tickets at a higher average price than any other country in the world.
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Old 04-07-2006, 10:15 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by STING2

A gain in spending power by the top 20% does not in of itself equal a loss for those below the top 20%.
Oh no?

Quote:
Originally posted by STING2
The average American enjoy's one of the highest standards of living in the world as shown on the annual UN Human Development Index. In addition, just look at all the things your average household now has compared to one from 30 years ago. 30 years ago, the average household had no computers, no internet, no cell phone, no game system, no small portable electronic gadgets, half as many cars, no VCRs, no cable, just a TV with rabbit ears and maybe 4 or 5 channels and the list can go on. What many young people consider to be a normal part of the day did not exist at all back then. Today your average household has all these things,
What you haven't recognized in this comparison of present day and 30 years ago was that what was considered a "normal part of the day" for middle class family existence back then was comfortably achieved on ONE average salary. So while in essence we "have" more, we work twice as hard for much less to achieve that same level while the top 20% let their stock portfolios do their work for them. Is that progress?
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Old 04-07-2006, 10:54 PM   #6
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Yay...more service jobs.
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Old 04-08-2006, 12:50 AM   #7
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Yay...more service jobs.
With wages thats make them depend on tips to keep their household running.
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Old 04-08-2006, 12:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrBrau1
Yay...more service jobs.
...with little to no benefits and more people trying to support families on pitifully low wages! YAY!
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Old 04-08-2006, 09:27 AM   #9
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... and still, no universal health care!
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Old 04-08-2006, 11:22 AM   #10
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My own sister didn't have health insurance before she got married. That was scary. She came back from India with e. coli and terrible dehydration and thank God for her husband's insurance because they had to hospitalize her.
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Old 04-08-2006, 04:01 PM   #11
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this thread is hilarious.
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Old 04-08-2006, 04:05 PM   #12
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I love how you compare life today to 30 yrs ago. Did you not consider that none of those products were available back then? And like AliEnvy said, they are done on two incomes and more and more longer hours!

Really taking unemployment stats and throwing it in the faces of people that have jobs that pay shit really doesnt solve their pitifully low wages and lack of health care!
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Old 04-08-2006, 04:41 PM   #13
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what a lame thread.

unemployment figures if not put into proper perspective, like sting2 failed to do (surprise surprise) mean absolutely nothing.

so what if unemployment levels are low when such a vast amount of the work force is being paid shit all?
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Old 04-08-2006, 04:43 PM   #14
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the GOP and bush have suffered their lowest poll numbers ever this week though, which is some comfort to... you know... everyone in the entire world except for those who vote republican.

this according ipsos reid, and if their pro7ections are similiar to that in canada, then the republicans are actually even worse off. ipsos historically in canada have seemed to give conservatives slight bumps in numbers.
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Old 04-08-2006, 06:22 PM   #15
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Yes, the glass is always half empty in FYM.

Go ahead and try to hold the Bush Administration accountable for 3 decades of stagnant wages. Democrats had better hope that the Fed keeps raising rates and breaks the stock market. Otherwise Dems won't be able to run on the economy with record home values, steady GDP growth, and yes, declining unemployment numbers. There are plenty of other issues that would give the Democrats more traction.
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