by Stephen Lendman
Friday's headline number belies dire economic reality. Main Street's in protracted Depression. Nearly 25 million Americans are jobless.
Real unemployment approaches 23%. On November 6, Americans vote. Neither candidate proposed ways to create jobs. Obama's done more to destroy them than create them. More on that below.
Hours worked and income gains were missing in Friday's report. Average weekly hours for production and nonsupervisory workers declined 0.3%. Weekly manufacturing hours dropped by the same amount. So did average weekly earnings.
Aggregate weekly hours represents total labor input. It edged up a meager 0.1% for private sectors workers. At the same time, it fell that amount for production and nonsupervisory ones. Doing so shows weakness, not strength.
Unemployment duration rose to 40.2 weeks. It represents a 10-month high. Moreover, recently laid off workers are hard-pressed to find jobs. Hardest hit are African Americans, Latinos and 20 - 24 year olds.
Sandy's impact is also adverse. Expect income and spending to suffer. So will job creation. Most affected homeowners have no flood insurance. During hard times, their ability to rebuild and recoup is hampered.
One economist assessed conditions this way. Don't mistake headline jobs figures for economic health. Productivity, top and bottom line erosion signify decline, not growth.
Economist Jack Rasmus analyzes monthly jobs figures. He questions BLS data accuracy. He told Progressive Radio News Hour listeners that something is very wrong with the numbers.
Each fall and winter, well above trend job gains are reported. In contrast, every spring/early summer gains "collapse. There is indeed something going on with the jobs numbers, though it's not falsification," says Rasmus.
At the same time, employers are replacing full-time workers with part-time/temp ones. They're paid less with lower benefits. In addition, fictitious new business formations exaggerate job creation.
Something indeed is wrong with BLS reports. With elections days away, Friday's was very suspect. Later downward revisions may erase November 2 gains.
Moreover, Rasmus and other independent economists expect protracted hard times. Layoff notices are increasing. Throughout 2012, business investment declined precipitously.
Q III equipment and software numbers collapsed to zero. Business spending on buildings declined 4.4%. These figures represent rapid deceleration. Nothing ahead looks promising. So-called evidence that housing is recovering is illusory.
Expect consumers to run out of steam. Around 90% of households are maxing out on credit cards and drawing down savings. Watch for that to end ahead. What can't go on forever won't.
Moreover, global growth is contracting rapidly. Spillover will impact America. In 2013, expect reality to arrive with a bang. In Q III, US exports declined for the first time in three years.
Global trade overall is contracting. So is US manufacturing. In mid-October, the Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin (GEAB) maintains "Red Alert" conditions.
"Economic shock" could arrive any time, it says. Global conditions are rapidly deteriorating. Western economies, the Middle East, North Africa, East and Central Asia are affected.
GEAB said, "Remember Lehman Brothers….in a few hours the world moved from 'normal' to 'Red Alert' mode!" Some analysts expect Lehman on steroids ahead. The fullness of time will tell.
Counterproductive Euroland/US policies may hasten its arrival.
Economies don't prosper by prioritizing militarism over domestic needs, destroying their middle class, denying young workers future opportunities, letting unemployment rise, and substituting low pay/poor benefit/part-time or temp jobs for higher paying/good benefit full-time ones.
Bad policies beget bad results. Substituting short-term gains for what's vital longer-term assures economies in decline. Prosperity depends on job creation, income growth, and governments serving everyone equitably.
America and Europe are being third-worldized. It may arrive sooner than most expect. Expect conditions ahead to be worse than 2008. China's heading for a hard landing.
Europe's in recession. Insolvent banks may collapse. Sovereign crisis conditions make things worse. A potential Euroland breakup may follow.
Money creation madness solves nothing. At most, it creates the illusion of all's well. Reality always has the last word.
Summing up conditions overall, one analyst said half the world's in recession, Europe's in big trouble, and major central banks are running out of bullets. Potentially, a perfect storm awaits.
Greece and Spain are canaries in the coal mine. They're doing everything wrong and heading for collapse. It's just a matter of time.
What happens to them affects the continent. As Europe goes, America follows or vice versa. Paul Craig Roberts headlined his latest assessment "The Virtual Economic Recovery," saying:
Rigged inflation numbers created it since mid-2009. Everyone who eats, drives a car, heat and/or air conditions a home, has health insurance and other medical expenses, pays college tuitions, and travels "knows that low inflation is" illusory.
Based on how calculated in the 1980s, it's 9%. Coverup suppresses truth, and not just on inflation. "Everything is a lie to serve power-brokers," says Roberts.
Officially, recession ended in mid-2009. If fact, it continues. Distorted GDP reporting masks it. Reliable economic measures show decline, not recovery. Hard times are worsening.
Official numbers are statistical illusions. Fake inflation numbers create the deception. Media scoundrels report them like gospel. They claim economic recovery instead of explaining a protracted Main Street Depression. More on that below.
"(G)government propaganda produces a make-believe virtual reality that bears no relationship to" what ordinary people experience day to day.
"As long as Americans believe" what Washington tells them, "they are doomed." Official reports turn reality on its head. Joe Sixpack can explain economic conditions better than talking-head economists.
"Americans are far more oppressed by the power brokers in Washington than statistics display. Moreover, the young are born into the oppressive, exploitative American system and do not know any different."
"They are fed by the Presstitute media with endless propaganda about how fortunate they are and how indispensable their wonderful country is."
"Americans are kept in a constant state of amusement, and many never grasp" the true state of things. Eventually it'll hit home like a hammer. "America is on the path to collapse or tyranny." Perhaps both.
At the same time, US dominance will wane. People everywhere "will sigh with relief." It can't happen a moment too soon.
America's "newspaper of record" fronts for Obama. It backs the worst of his policies. Instead of condemning what causes so much harm to so many, it praises his domestic and foreign agenda.
On November 2, its editorial headlined "Jobs Are Growing, Not Stagnating."
Obama "was right (claiming) 'real progress.' "
"In fact, the jobs recovery has not been derailed; it is showing signs of acceleration."
Twenty-five million without jobs say where's the recovery. Nearly one-fourth of working age Americans without employment signifies decline, not growth. Rotten jobs replacing good ones highlights it.
Waging war on humanity instead of rebuilding America and prioritizing equitable government for everyone accentuates it. Longstanding NYT policy supports wealth, power and privilege. Ordinary people have no friend in Times Square.
Instead of reporting accurately on Obama's record, The Times claims he "asserted his employment agenda, including school and infrastructure rebuilding and aid to states to hire teachers."
He also adopted "a responsible approach to deficit reduction, including preserving tax cuts for most Americans while letting the high-end Bush tax cuts expire."
Obama is more jobs destroyer than creator. He appointed corporate predator/GE chairman/CEO Jeff Immelt as Council on Jobs and Competitiveness head.
His idea of jobs creation is corporate and high-end earner tax cuts, more deregulation, and unfair/one-sided "free" trade in return for small numbers of low pay/poor benefit part-time or temp jobs.
Obama's done nothing to stop massive teacher layoffs. His Race to the Top is a dagger in the heart of public education and harmful fallout from privatizing it.
His notion of deficit reduction is make ordinary people pay. Cut programs they need most. Prioritize military spending, generous corporate handouts and tax cuts, as well as special benefits for America's rich.
He didn't let "high-end Bush tax cuts expire." He extended them. "Romney has no good ideas and Mr. Obama has plenty," said The Times.
On issues mattering most, not a dime's worth of difference separates them. Supporting either assures the worst of hard, repressive times. Sandy sufferers got an early taste.
For good reason, another article said vote independent or stay home. There's no in between.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War"
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.