Well, well, well – 8.5% unemployment


Haven’t we seen these chickens now circling-in for a landing?  Yes indeed – they’re coming home to roost. I’m hardly the only one saying it (although in Lansing I may be the only one), but this news is the inevitable consequence of that pernicious minimum-wage folly adopted a couple years ago at both the state and federal levels. That power-play executed by union bosses is now biting Michigan job seekers in the rear – especially young and inexperienced ones.


Youngsters, say, “Thanks, union bosses!”


In addition to not whispering the words “minimum wage,” apologists for the status-quo political establishment (including many in the media) are pointing to factors like last month’s GM and American Axle strikes as the explanation for the huge jobless jump (“thanks again, union bosses!”) However, the validity of that theory is challenged by a teensy silver lining in a different set of employment figures than the “household survey” on which the high-profile unemployment rate is based: Michigan payroll employment reported in the “establishment survey” actual rose by a (very) modest 6,000 in May (after falling by 63,000 in the preceding 11 months).


So if the number of payroll jobs did not go down during the month, then a jobless rate increase must mean that that the number of job-seekers went up. Which it always does when the kids get out of school. From Mirs News: “This time of year, numerous individuals, especially youth, typically enter the work force seeking seasonal employment,” said Rick Waclawek, director of the state Department of Labor and Economic Growth.* 


Unlike previous years, though, this time young job seekers had to confront the reality that, given their low skills and inexperience, many of them just aren’t worth hiring for the new state minimum wage of $7.40/hour that kicks in on July 1. Thus, we experience the outcome characterized by the DLEG spokesman as follows: “This is an unusually large monthly shift in the jobless rate.”


BTW, my colleague Dr. Evil cites another source of the unemployment increase (another flock of returning chickens): For the past five years a strong national economy “masked” the effects of Michigan’s declining employment base, because we were effectively “exporting” job-seekers who might otherwise have ended up on the state’s jobless roles if they weren’t able to find work in other states. That’s changing as the national economy softens.

* “Department of Labor and Economic Growth” – given this news and the general state of Michigan’s economy, today that name seems more ironic than usual. Almost Orwellian, if not Kafkaesque.


One Response to “Well, well, well – 8.5% unemployment”

  1. Bob Carr Says:

    Hi Jack, nice BBQ Thanks.

    Along with Orwell, and Kaftka, “Department of Labor and Economic Growth” as far as their stated growth might be summed up a more Kevorkian. lol

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