Galbraith: Bidenomics and Its Discontents

Skip to first unread message

June Zaccone

Apr 6, 2024, 6:09:49 PMApr 6
to goodjobs list

Bidenomics and Its Discontents James K. Galbraith 3/27/24

The White House believes American workers have seldom had it so good. And lots of prestigious economists agree. But the voters aren’t buying. Maybe they know something?


Take the unemployment rate. It is a ratio of those seeking work to the whole active labor force. In past times, most households depended on a single earner, for whom holding a job was a make-or-break proposition. If unemployment was rising or high—say 7 percent, typical in recessions—then, even though 93 percent of the labor force was still working, fear of unemployment amplified the woes of those actually out of work. Conversely, if unemployment was low or falling, most workers felt reasonably secure. The unemployment rate, back then, was a reasonable indicator of distress or well-being.

Those days are long gone. Today’s typical American working household has several earners, sometimes in multiple jobs. If one earner loses a job while the others keep theirs, she may leave the workforce for a time; there is the option of making do with less, and for some there is early retirement. She will not, in that case, count as unemployed—however difficult her life. A low jobless rate can mask a great deal of stress in such households. The employment-to-population ratio is still a bit below where it was in 2020, and far below where it was in 2000; average weekly hours are still falling.....

June Zaccone
National Jobs for All Network
Reply all
Reply to author
0 new messages