Coming off of an awful showing at the debate the other night, President Obama (and the rest of us) got some good jobs news this morning: the unemployment rate has dropped to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest rate since January 2009. The country added 114,000 jobs during last month. The rate in August was 8.1 percent. After a closer look, the numbers for July and August were also improved. Of course, the government would like to see job creation happening at a faster clip, but we’ll take this.
The greatest growth was seen in the private sector, with health care, transportation and warehousing showing the greatest gains, according to The Wall Street Journal. Manufacturing is still a sore spot, losing 16,000 jobs. Governments, which have been losing jobs in previous months, added 10,000 positions. Average earnings are also slightly improved, up seven cents with the average pay reaching $23.58 cents per hour.
“Coming a month before the presidential election, the jobs report offered ammunition for both sides as the candidates vie to convince voters that each is better equipped to steer the economy. Mr. Obama can point to the 24th straight month of job growth after a severe financial crisis, while Republicans continue to criticize the glacial pace of the improvement,” report The New York Times.
Even though things are moving in the right direction, businesses are still cautious. At the end of the year, a number of tax increases and budget cuts could go into effect, shaving $1.2 trillion in spending over the next decade, cutting thousands of federal jobs and likely leading to layoffs in the private sector and, overall, sending us over the “fiscal cliff.” Shivers. But Congress could (and we bet, will likely) act before this would be set in motion on January 1.
For the black and Hispanic communities, the job situation is still a quagmire. Unemployment rates are well into the double digits, 22.4 percent for African Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 years old and 24.3 percent for the whole demographic, according to Politic365. According to Paul Conway, president of nonprofit Generation Opportunity and a former chief of staff of the U.S. Department of Labor in the 2000s, told the site that low education and graduation rates take a big part of the blame, along with the lack of professional networks and “leadership examples” (we need success mentors!). The article also brings up the disproportionate way that the minimum wage ($7.25 at the federal level) impacts African Americans. That’s definitely not enough to live comfortably, let alone raise a family, save for college, or pay for other necessary expenses.