The Department of Labor recently estimated that U.S. employers added 195,000 jobs during the month of June, which prompted excitement from the White House and spurred a rise in stock prices.
But the full set of figures hardly points to a strong economy. Consider:
- The overall unemployment rate remained steady at 7.6 percent.
- The unemployment rate for young workers (ages 18–29) rose to 16.1 percent.
- So far this year, only 136,000 full-time jobs have been added to the U.S. economy, compared to 557,000 part-time jobs.
- The number of workers employed in part-time jobs for “economic reasons” (i.e., those who would prefer to work full time if the jobs were available) increased by 332,000—leaving a total 8.2 million Americans working part-time who would prefer to work full-time.
What is the cause of the job market’s malaise? The broad answer is that, in recent years, the federal government has pursued various policies that have harmed economic growth and the U.S. job market.
As just a sampling of these policies:
- The Bush and Obama administrations massively increased government spending, resulting in a national debt of more than $16.3 trillion;
- The Federal Reserve under Ben Bernanke increased production of fiat money, thus decreasing the value of Americans’ savings (and thus their ability to invest), and kept interest rates artificially low, thereby throttling market incentives for lending;
- The government added more than 38,000 new regulations, retarding businessmen’s ability to produce and trade;
- And Congress passed ObamaCare, forcing all Americans to act against their judgment with respect to their health care “choices.”
In these and many other ways, the federal government violated people’s rights to keep and spend their money as they see fit and to produce and trade freely. One consequence of these policies is that the job market has remained anemic.
If Americans want to see a better job market—and a better standard of living in general—they must demand that government cut spending, reduce taxes, slash regulations, and generally move in the direction of protecting rather than violating people’s rights.