Last Friday’s release of California’s jobs numbers gave us some very important insight into just how troubling our state’s unemployment situation really is. As the Los Angeles Times pointed out over the weekend, things are actually worse than they appear. This is because the few jobs that were added in May came in the form of temporary government jobs and people taking on part-time work because they’ve been unable to find full-time employment…otherwise known as underemployment. In fact, economists say the report shows our economy will continue to face big problems in the months ahead.
Economist: “The Private Sector Is Completely Flat.” “Though the state added 28,300 jobs to payrolls in May, economists say the types of jobs added indicate that the state’s economy still faces big problems ahead. The state experienced losses in construction, trade and the traditionally strong education and health services sector. Those losses were offset by 30,000 federal government positions that were mostly census jobs. ‘It’s all census, even more so than last month,’ said Jeff Michael, director of the Business Forecasting Center at the University of the Pacific in Stockton. ‘The private sector is completely flat.’” (Alana Semuels, “California unemployment report fosters doubts on recovery,” Los Angeles Times, 6/18/10)
Census Jobs And Involuntary Part-Time Employment “Providing A Band-Aid.” “Census jobs aren’t the only positions that are providing a Band-Aid. Economists say many of those who do have jobs are part-time, or underemployed, workers, who can’t find full-time work because of the economy. They are not counted in the unemployment rate. But one measure, the U-6 number, which includes the unemployed and those who are employed part-time for economic reasons, reached 21.9% in May, the highest it’s been in decades.” (Alana Semuels, “California unemployment report fosters doubts on recovery,” Los Angeles Times, 6/18/10)
Despite this revealing data, however, Barbara Boxer seems adamant on continuing to tout the “effectiveness” of the $862 billion economic “stimulus” plan she championed. And, to be fair, there’s really no doubt that billions in taxpayer dollars have been spent on the stimulus. But the stimulus has failed to fulfill its stated goal as promised by Barbara Boxer and President Obama: job creation.
While Boxer and her team are declaring victory, California’s unemployment rate stands at 12.4 percent and more than 2.27 million Californians are out of work. In fact, the unemployment rate has gone up by more than two percentage points since February 2009, and 409,500 more people are unemployed today than were unemployed when the stimulus plan was signed.
Back when the stimulus plan was passed, Barbara Boxer said it would create or save 400,000 jobs. She now claims that the stimulus has “saved or created 150,000 jobs in California alone.” If that is true (which is doubtful, based on the numbers) that’s still about 250,000 jobs short of the 400,000 jobs she promised.
President Obama promised the stimulus would get unemployment down to 8 percent. But based on the numbers as they currently stand, at least another 810,000 people need to find jobs in California alone in order to get us anywhere near the 8 percent unemployment rate he promised.
Unfortunately for Barbara Boxer, plugging her ears, closing her eyes and clicking her heels together while continuing to sing, “The stimulus is working!” doesn’t change the reality of the situation. As is typical of her 34 years making a paycheck courtesy of the taxpayers, Barbara Boxer has overpromised with our tax dollars and underdelivered when it comes to results.