By Lisa Irving, November 12, 2021
Analysts across the board lauded the better than expected “Bureau of Labor Statistics” October jobs report that was released last week. That report, showing 531,000 job additions (when 450,000 job gains were predicted) also included some upward revisions to prior months, after very disappointing August and September job numbers.
According to many, this upswing in jobs, accompanied with a 4.6% overall unemployment rate and a 0.4% rise in hourly wages, signals a robust economic recovery.
However, such optimism is rash and premature, as there are a myriad of reasons why: millions are being left out of the jobs recovery, lowered labor participation rates indicate workers leaving the workforce, wage increases are failing to keep up with inflation and the economy has 4.2 million jobs less than pre pandemic levels, and automation is on the rise.
This is certainly not a time to dole out vast numbers of work permits and advocate for open border policies. The House Build Back Better Act significantly increases the number of green cards that will be handed out. An influx of even more foreign workers will depress wages and diminish labor prospects for Americans even further.
Millions Still Struggle to Find Sufficient Employment
According to the October jobs report, there are 6 million people who are not counted as unemployed but who want a job.
Additionally, 4.4 million part-time workers prefer full-time employment. This troubling data begs the question of how many of the October gains include jobs that are only part-time and seasonal.
High Black Unemployment Persists
While the October report shows an overall unemployment rate of 4.6%, Black unemployment remains at 7.9%, the same level shown in September.
Also, the Black labor participation rate fell to 61.1%, down 0.2% from September.
Women Across the Board Lag in the Recovery
Job losses during the pandemic negatively impacted women on a large scale, as many women work in frontline jobs such as retail, hospitality and education.
The overall unemployment rate for women rose by 0.2 % in October, perhaps a sign that significant numbers of women are entering the job market but have yet to find employment.
An Annual 6.2 % Inflation Increase Outpaced Rises in Wages
The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ also released its October Consumer Price Index (CPI) report this week.
The October CPI report reveals that the cost of living rose 6.2% since last October, the highest rate in 31 years.
So even as hourly wages increased 0.4% in October, real wages fell 0.5% due to inflation.
Automation is On the Rise
Just today a Reuters report came out on the long-term trend of replacing human workers with robots. That trend accelerated over the past couple of years as businesses such as fast food restaurants were seeking ways to remain open for business while their workers were in COVID-19 lockdowns.
America Has Enough Workers
It’s important to look beyond the headlines when it comes to the post-COVID economic “recovery,” and the inevitable argument that America “needs” more foreign workers to fill open jobs. There are plenty of workers already here and who are ready and able to work.
This article was originally published by NumbersUSA.