Under the continuing bleak picture, the DOL reported some interesting numbers:
Total nonfarm payroll employment was little changed (-54,000) in August. Government employment fell by 121,000, reflecting the departure of 114,000 temporary Census 2010 workers from federal government payrolls. Total private employment continued to trend up modestly over the month (+67,000). Since its most recent low in December 2009, private-sector employment has risen by 763,000.
Simply put, the private sector is showing signs of recovery, though the creation of an average of less than 100,000 jobs per month offset by the loss of hundreds of thousands of government jobs has clearly not been enough to reduce the unemployment rate let alone provide opportunities for the new workers added to the economy each month.
As the People's World's award-winning labor editor John Wojcik wrote recently: "The economy must add 125,000 jobs each month just to keep up with population growth."
White House economic adviser Christina Romer noted in a White House blog post some positive trends:
In the household survey, the number of people employed rose by 290,000. But, because the labor force rose by 550,000, the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.6% (from 9.5% in July). The employment -- to -- population ratio also rose one -- tenth of a percentage point (to 58.5%), indicating that in the household survey employment growth more than kept up with population growth. In addition, the number of workers who have been unemployed 27 weeks or longer declined sharply, from 6.57 million to 6.25 million.
She also pointed recent trending growth in manufacturing as as a positive.
Essentially, positive developments underlay much of the data on the economy, but right now it is simply unable to create enough jobs to keep people in work.
It might be worth delving into a recent Commerce Department report that showed since the recession began in 2007, corporations have reduced their workforces by 2.1 percent while adding 1.2 percent to their overseas operations. Essentially, they sought to protect their profits by moving their operations to other countries in order to exploit lower-paid workers, while the economy tanked here.
But the math suggests that if you keep government workers on the payroll, if even if it is short-term fix, you instantly create a positive employment picture. Don't fire 120,000 government workers each month and you stimulate the economy through the recirculation of money in the form of their wages.
I know Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin literally hate government workers, but those three haven't done an honest day's work in their lives.
The numbers suggest the need to grow public employment, and ideally a transition publicly managed institutions across the economy would resolve some of the main contradictions of capitalism – for one, the vast inequality and instability generated by the private appropriation (in the form of profits) from social investment and production – as well as generate the economic activity needed to bring the Great Recession to a real close.