Politics: More people went to a single hockey game than found jobs in December

Image Credit: Robert Laurie

Published by: Robert Laurie on Friday January 10th, 2014

Robert Laurie

Worst jobs report in 3 years 

On January 1st, I joined a crowd of just over 105,000 people for a hockey game in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The greatest team in professional sports history, The Detroit Red Wings, was there to confront a group of Canadian wannabes who call themselves the Toronto Maple Leafs. The event was held outdoors, in a blizzard, in the University of Michigan's "Big House" stadium.  Sadly, the Wings lost. Sadder still, there were more people in the stands that day than there were jobs added to the national economy in the entire month prior.

The Labor Department has released its statistics for December and they are, in a word, horrible. According to the report issued this morning, a truly meager 74,000 jobs were added in the last month of 2013. That's about 31,000 less than attended the Wings game. This is especially disappointing because A: most of the country has no idea what Hockey is, and B: the administration's favorite economists were predicting 200,000 new jobs for the month.

They didn't even get halfway to the estimate.

This is the worst performance since 2011 and, while the overall unemployment number dropped to 6.7%, it did so only because so many people gave up and left the workforce entirely. Remember that according to the feds, you're only "unemployed" if you're still trying to find gainful employment. If you simply walk away, they don't bother with factoring you in. 

The number of adults who are active in the workforce has now fallen to 62.8% - meaning we now have the lowest workforce participation rate since 1978.

Unsurprisingly, the Health Care industry cut 6,000 positions.  This is the first time the industry has cut jobs in a decade, and it raises the specter that perhaps ObamaCare is starting to have exactly the impact conservatives always said it would.

Democrats are running around trying to blame the weather, saying that December's snow and cold led to a dip in construction hiring. Seriously, that's what they're blaming. It’s a claim that's not really worth addressing, but I will say this:  If your "recovery" is so weak and fragile that it can be completely derailed by a common December snowfall, you never really had a recovery to being with.

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