Tag Archive: employment

Restoring Jobs

Having gone through a devastating recession in recent years, restoring jobs for New Jerseyans is probably our government’s single most important task. According to the NJ Department of Labor (see Table 1 seasonally adjusted non-farm labor) in September jobs increased by 600 over the prior month and only by 6,100 over the prior 12 months – a pig which no amount of lipstick will make pretty. 8,700 jobs were lost in September in the  Leisure & Hospitality category – mainly casino jobs – a serious problem (and one that will grow worse in October) which Governor Christie has yet to address.          

Our current unemployment rate of 6.5% is based on the seasonally adjusted civilian labor force employment of 4,209,100 people in September. For 2010 when Christie took office the average was 4,108,700 so we have gained only 100,400 jobs since then. We have even further to go to reach the 2007 level of 4,264,600 employment. Only when and if we reach the 2007 level can we declare a recovery.

Our neighboring states and the nation as a whole are doing better. NJ’s job growth rate is the second worst in the nation, just ahead of Alaska.  

A Tale of Two Unemployment Rates

promoted by Rosi

One of Chris Christie’s biggest busts has been on jobs.  He trashed the ARC tunnel project (which we could use now that Sandy messed up the other tunnels) which cost thousands of short term and long term jobs, then put all his eggs in Revel and The American Dream to create jobs.  

Revel collapsed in bankruptcy and The American Dream remains a dream and most of the jobs either would have had were low wage.

Now we see that the United States unemployment rate fell to 5.9 percent today, lower than it’s been since prior to the economic collapse of 2008.

Two weeks ago NJ got this report: N.J. unemployment rate increases to 6.6 percent; 900 jobs lost.

The GOP outside of NJ may want Christie, but those of us paying attention here sure don’t.

Unemployment rate shows Christie’s jobs plan is a dead end

Yes, NJ’s jobless rate rose again, to 8.7%, highest of all the states surrounding us, and more evidence that Chris Christie’s ‘Jersey Comeback’ was BS. This is from Rob Duffey, Policy and Communications Coordinator of the New Jersey Working Families Alliance. Promoted by Rosi.

The new jobs numbers are out, and they continue to disappoint. It’s been four years since Chris Christie promised us that tax cuts for the rich paid for by budget cuts for the rest would save the state’s economy. Yet New Jersey still lags behind the rest of the country in getting back to work.

Our unemployment rate actually ticked up from 8.6 to 8.7%. While we added some jobs, it’s obvious that far too many New Jerseyans are looking for work with no prospects to be found. And the longer each one of them looks, the harder it will be for them to find work in the future.  

A disaster in the making

By Rob Duffey, Policy and Communications Coordinator for the New Jersey Working Families Alliance. Promoted by Rosi.

Next week the New Jersey Senate considers the ‘Economic Opportunity Act of 2013′ – a bill that purports to overhaul five economic development programs used by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority to ostensibly create or retain jobs in New Jersey.

Unfortunately numerous studies have found these programs don’t make a big difference in corporate behavior all too often we end up being pitted against New York or Pennsylvania in a bidding war or just paying a corporation to do exactly what they would have anyway. And if you don’t believe us, just look at the last few years. Chris Christie has staked his entire jobs strategy on these programs, and we still have the 6th highest unemployment rate in the nation.

Few of the reforms included in the overhaul will do much to make these programs more accountable or effective. But almost as bad is that a slew of new amendments were quietly snuck into the fast-tracked corporate subsidy overhaul that will make these grants more expensive, more frequent, and harder on the environment.

The ‘Economic Opportunity Act of 2013’ folds New Jersey’s five economic development programs into two. In theory it puts a cap on certain programs, but between ‘bonuses’ the awards could actually increase to levels unseen so far. And given just how much corporate welfare has spiked under Christie’s watch that’s saying something.

Sadly, the overhauls do little to ensure these programs create the jobs supporters promise. And perhaps since few legislators are asking about the jobs these programs might create, no one thought legislators would notice two amendments that will be terrible for New Jersey’s environment and open spaces.  

Christie Official Sees Good News in Unemployment Figures

One of the legacies of the Bush Recession has been the high unemployment rate across the nation. Despite Republican obstruction, President Obama has had some success in turning around the mess he inherited from the previous administration.  Unfortunately, Governor Christie’s policies have left New Jersey in the dust in the race to keep people employed. The state’s unemployment rate has lagged the national average since the Obama recovery started.

Now, a Christie administration official has adopted Orwellian Newspeak and is saying that New Jersey’s staggering unemployment numbers are good news. Harold J. Wirths, Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, is quoted (at around 1:10) in this video stating that the unemployment numbers mean “The people are optimistic: either they have a job or they’re optimistic that they’re going to get a job.”

This is not the first time that the Christie administration has been tone deaf to the plight of ordinary citizens. Job-creation investments like the ARC Tunnel and green energy have been squashed. Rampant privatization will send many jobs out of state.

It’s time that the Christie administration woke up and paid attention to the employment crisis in the state. Or step aside and let someone else solve the problem.

NJ Employment Hurt Hardest by Sandy

The entire region took a major employment hit after Sandy hit in late October, but it looks like New York has begun to recover while New Jersey is still in the throes of a significant storm-related downturn.

Here’s a chart from Steven Bronars of the growth in New York’s new jobless claims for just before and the weeks after Sandy, with a major spike after and then by November 17th a return to lower numbers.

Then there’s New Jersey which shows the same rapid increase after the storm, but no return to the norm afterwards.

My only guess as to why New Jersey is having a slower employment recovery is that we live where we work, so if our homes are destroyed so are our jobs.  Maybe — and it’s only a maybe — in New York the devastation was localized to residences and the locales with jobs themselves were quicker to recover.  

I’d love to get opinions from others on why they would see this.

Bronars estimates that New Jersey’s unemployment for November will reach an astonishing eleven percent, which is amazing.  But it’s also possible that we simply had an extra week and things will return to norm soon for us as well.

Anatomy of Christie-Era Unemployment: Transportation

The Star Ledger ran an editorial yesterday with this screaming headline:

Editorial: Don’t blame Gov. Christie for N.J. unemployment

With all due respect, after 3 years in office how can you not hold him responsible on some level and go with that headline? Then there was this beauty of a paragraph following the headline:

Time for a reality check: Attacking a governor over his ability to create jobs over the short term is silly – because, truth be told, there’s not much he can do.

Hmm, not much he can do to create jobs.  Accepting funds for the ARC tunnel, which could have produced could have helped.  Lets see what the Star Ledger’s own Bob Braun had to say about that at the the time: (emphasis mine)

Ignored in all of this is what many people thought the ARC tunnel could have done for New Jersey. According to studies cited by the GAO, “During construction, the ARC project would have provided about 59,900 jobs directly onsite and total additional employment in the region of about 98,300 jobs.” A decade after completion of the project, one study estimated, the region would gain 44,000 new jobs.

The project could have “produced $9 billion in business activity during construction and $120 million per year in business activity over the long term,” the GAO reported.

“Studies also indicated that increased tax revenues would have resulted from the increases in economic activity from the ARC Project. The environmental study estimated that during construction, $1.5 billion in federal, state, and local taxes would have been generated.”

According to estimates, Christie canceled over 144,000 jobs and billions of dollars in business activity that could have created even more jobs. Their own columnists have pointed it out. New Jersey’s unemployment rate has gone from 9.0 to 9.9 percent in the last 5 months, a 35-year high three years into the Christie governorship. Yet given all of this information, the Star Ledger says don’t blame Christie and there’s nothing a little ole Governor could to help. Really? It’s pretty clear that what he’s done has hurt.

New Jersey led the country in July job losses

We’re number one, we’re number one… oh wait:

The largest over-the-month decrease in employment nationally occurred in New Jersey, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The Garden State’s 12,000-job loss last month was followed by Missouri and Illinois, which lost 7,700 and 7,100 from June to July, respectively, according to the latest job numbers.

Well, Christie did say he wanted to make New Jersey a leader, but I don’t think this is what people were hoping for. The 9.8% rate for New Jersey is the highest since 1977, which prompted this comment on Fmr. Governor Codey’s Facebook page:

New Jersey has the highest unemployment rate since 1977 at 9.8%. Back then it was “Smokey and the Bandit” and bellbottoms, the year Elvis died. Given this news, I’m wondering who’s the better perfomer, Elvis or the Governor?

Can you feel the comeback? I can’t wait to hear the Governor talk about how great it is going in Tampa.

Economy, Environment

Taxes and Government Spending.

Tax the wealthy. For one thing, they have money. They are the only people with money. And for another, it’s not as if they don’t reap any benefits from living in society. Wealthy people get sick – and can afford health care.

During the Depression, Roosevelt and Keynes saw that while business owners could hire people they wouldn’t risk capital making widgets they were not optimistic that people would buy. In economic times such as these it is only the government that is both able and also willing to hire. That’s why the austerity programs in Europe are backfiring. We need government programs.

But they must make sense.