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Ear to the Ground

A 7.5 Percent Jobless Rate Means the McRecovery Continues

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Posted on May 3, 2013
Keoni Cabral (CC BY 2.0)

The U.S. economy appears to have added just enough jobs in April to keep pace with population growth, and the new positions are low wage and mostly nonunion. And once again, the new unemployment figure of 7.5 percent excludes people who have given up looking for work, so the actual rate is much higher.

Roughly a third of all jobs added over the last month were in the retail and hospitality industries, reports Ned Resnikoff at All In With Chris Hayes. Those sectors have come to replace manufacturing as the heart of American industry.

The construction field—which offers relatively high wages and union membership rates—lost jobs. The public sector fared poorly too. The sequestration’s across-the-board cuts have shaved more positions off a government workforce that has long been shrinking due in large part to weak tax revenues.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

Ned Resnikoff at All In With Chris Hayes:

[T]he overall trend appears to be away from employment in traditionally stable, relatively unionized, decently paying industries, and toward growth in precarious labor in “business services” like fast food work, retail, housekeeping, and janitorial services. As this trend develops, we’re seeing a commensurate drop in full-time work: While the number of people on non-farm payrolls rose by 165,000 last month, the number of involuntary part-time workers—that is, people who would prefer full-time employment but were only able to find part-time jobs—rose by 278,000. Meanwhile, the average work week decreased from 34.6 to 34.4 hours.

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