Friday, June 04, 2004

It's the Squeeze, Stupid


The Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning announced that the economy added jobs in May, but that the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.6 percent. The telecommunications sector, which provides better-paying jobs, lost 5,000 jobs last month alone. The industry is particularly vulnerable to the offshoring phenomenon touted by the White House, and has shed more than 280,000 jobs since 2001. And while conservatives are sure to trumpet the overall macro numbers, Business Week reports that Americans are "increasingly concerned about President Bush's stewardship" on basic economic issues. As the story notes, "many middle-class workers, after years of stagnant wages, feel pinched by record-high gas prices, rapid inflation for grocery staples such as milk, rising health-care and tuition costs, and higher local taxes. Add to that a fear of job loss from outsourcing and uncertainty about Iraq, and there's a growing sense of doubt that the recovery is deep and durable." Read American Progress fellow Scott Lilly's analysis of the new jobs numbers.