2/3/15 Creating Jobs

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The February jobs report is due out in a few days.  This monthly report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics has sounded positive in the last few months.  But it should be read with two, very important caveats.

First, the drop in the unemployment rate is due to the growing number of workers designated as “not in the labor force.”

Historically, this designation belongs to people not typically thought of as in the labor force such as the retired, military, those in prison, and the long-time unemployed.  Since the 2008, the number of long-term unemployed has reached record-setting levels.

Put another way, the percentage of Americans in the labor force is at the lowest level in 40 years.  A smaller work force distorts the true unemployment rate.

Here’s the second caveat.

 Since 2008, Texas and North Dakota have accounted for 1.5 million new jobs.

In the same period of time, the other 48 states and the District of Columbia have lost a total of 325,000 jobs.  The numbers don’t lie.

It isn’t just the pro-business policies of these two states that have fueled job growth.  Both states have been tapping new sources of oil.  This has created jobs, led to increased gas supplies, and lowered prices. Everyone benefits.

There’s a lesson to be learned from all of this.

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