Uncle Sam Is Fastest Growing U.S. Job Market – Not Good

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IN THIS ISSUE:

  1. Overview: Touching On Several Different Topics Today
  2. U.S. Government Fastest Growing Job Market – Not Good
  3. President Biden’s Record Job Creation Claims Are Bogus
  4. Record Heat Causes People To Do Some Strange Things

Overview: Touching On Several Different Topics Today

Normally, I focus these weekly letters on one single pressing topic. Today, however, I don’t see one pressing topic to focus on. The record heat wave gripping much of the country seems to be the main topic of interest right now, and that wouldn’t make for an interesting letter. So, I comment on several current issues today I hope you will find interesting. Let’s get started.

U.S. Government Is Fastest Growing Job Market – Not Good

In case you haven’t noticed, private-sector hiring has slowed down to a worrisome rate recently. When counting downward revisions in hiring from the previous two months, the net employment gain was a meager 99,000 in the latest report for June.

But what is even more troubling is this: Guess what sector of the economy is on the biggest hiring binge? Government.

During the just-ended first half of 2023, federal, state and local governments added 379,000 workers to their payrolls. This was more hires than any industry in America. It was more than mining, manufacturing, construction, wholesale and transportation — COMBINED.

But wait: With the federal government running a $2 trillion annual deficit, and with the COVID crisis long behind us, shouldn’t we be systematically downsizing?

The only industry that comes anywhere near the government in hiring so far in 2023 is health care/hospitals. And that industry is half funded with government dollars from programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

Even these numbers distort the disproportionate impact government is exerting on the economy because, under the Biden administration, Congress has appropriated hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate welfare subsidies.

For example, the Chips and Biden’s misnamed Inflation Reduction Act funneled tens of billions of dollars to the microchip industry, green energy and electric cars. The government is thus adding tens of thousands of private-sector jobs that are financed by taxpayers.

change in employment

This is a losing proposition.

The only way the government can spend money to pay for these jobs programs is to subtract investment and jobs from other private employers that don’t have the most-favorable-industry status with politicians.

We should have learned from the Obama years that government subsidies to industries in the end lead to low-productivity spending and bankruptcies.

The economy is still growing, no recession in sight, but it is expanding in all the wrong places.

President Biden’s Record Job Creation Claims Are Bogus

President Joe Biden loves to boast that more new US jobs have been created since he took office two-and-a-half years ago than in the entire four years of any president before him. Earlier this month, Mr. Biden claimed that 13.2 million new jobs have been created since he took office – and the share of working-age Americans who have jobs is now at the highest level in more than 20 years. All because of President Biden.

On paper, this is true. Yet it is highly misleading for the president to take credit for all these new jobs. The fact is, President Biden did absolutely nothing to create most of these new jobs. Let’s take a closer look at the numbers. And just so you know, I wouldn’t let any US president get away with such false claims, regardless if he was a Democrat or Republican. It’s just wrong!

Here are the real jobs numbers you need to know. Data from the government’s own Labor Department shows that 72% of the jobs the president brags about weren’t “created” at all; they were simply “reclaiming jobs lost during the COVID lockdowns.”

Put differently, less than 30% of the jobs created, meaning less than 4 million jobs, since Biden took office, could he possibly take credit for. And even that number is an exaggeration since Biden and his policies were not responsible for all those non-Covid jobs created.

Here are some additional, more specific jobs numbers from the Labor Department. In February 2020, just before the Covid lockdowns, jobs reached a new all-time peak of 152.4 million in the US. By April 2020, that number had plunged to 130.4 million. That’s a loss of 22 million jobs virtually overnight thanks largely to the Covid shutdowns.

non farm jobs

When Trump left office nine months later, the economy had already reclaimed 12.5 million of those 22 million lost jobs. Under Biden, however, it took 17 months to reclaim the remaining 9.5 million jobs lost during the lockdowns.

That is nothing to brag about, Mr. Biden! And it is simply outrageous that you would try to claim credit for all 13.2 million jobs that were reported, most of which were merely reopened following the Covid lockdowns. What do you take us for… morons?

The bottom line: When you hear President Biden crowing that over 13 million new jobs have been created because of his policies since he took office, just know he is lying. He knows it and now you know it – if you didn’t already.

Don’t get me wrong – all presidents take credit for some things they played no role in. Put differently, they all lie sometimes. It’s just in this case, President Biden seems to have taken it to a whole new height by trying to mislead the American people in claiming he is responsible for the record 13.2 million jobs since he took office – when in reality, over 70% of those jobs were simply Covid-related shutdowns that reopened.

And this man wants us to re-elect him for another four years as our president? Let’s hope not!

Record Heat Causes People To Do Strange Things

I’ll round-out today’s letter with some odd things people are doing as a result of the record heat wave gripping much of the country. Some of these things are almost beyond belief.

Americans are used to heat waves, especially those of us in the South, but it’s hard to imagine anyone being accustomed to this year’s sweltering heat.

Record temperatures have pummeled much of the country this summer, and August looks to be just as brutal. People are dying in the heat. Phoenix has had temperatures over 110 degrees for three weeks. Grids are straining. And people are behaving in ways – some desperate, some whimsical – that they almost certainly would not under more typical conditions.

So, how hot is it?

  • It is so hot that some Texans are reportedly preheating their pans in direct sunlight and then frying eggs.
  • It is so hot that Los Angeles hired a “heat officer.” Marta Segura is coordinating mass media campaigns throughout the city and county to direct people to cooling centers, distribute information about labor conditions in the heat and encourage people to hydrate and avoid direct exposure to the sun.
  • It is so hot that local governments are paying people to use less water in some Arizona cities, in order to avoid a catastrophic shortage. Hard to blame thirsty, sweaty Arizonans when it’s 117 degrees!
  • It is so, so hot, and yet Denver has no clear timeline to repair public restrooms and water fountains that are damaged and out of service. As of now, 13 of the city’s 30 outdoor public restrooms are closed and many water fountains don’t work.
  • It is so ludicrously hot that in Arizona, a local news outlet left a tray of assorted snacks out in the sun to see how fast they’d melt. If you have an hour of free time, you can still watch the recorded livestream from last week to see whether Red Vines, butter, marshmallows and some random children’s toys melted first.
  • It is so hot that dolphins are turning pink – although this is apparently not the first time this has happened.
  • It is so devastatingly hot that public irrigation systems are the new water parks. Albuquerque, New Mexico has initiated and extended a “sprinkler play” program in its public parks in the early afternoon each day so that kids and their parents can run through sprinklers when daily highs rise to 100 or above.
  • It is so hot that a UPS strike has become that much more likely. Motivated in part by the extreme heat, 340,000 UPS workers are on the cusp of a historic work stoppage over the delivery company’s failure to provide better wages, full-time work and heat protection.
  • It is so hot that even rodents need some relief. I don’t think I’ve ever felt bad for a squirrel before.
  • It is so hot that trash is being picked up earlier. Albuquerque is attempting to avoid New York City’s signature summer hot-trash smell and protect waste management and collection workers from the late afternoon’s scorch – shifting its hours to a 5:00 a.m. start.

Unfortunately, even adjusting trash collection times will not change the fact that all this heat plain stinks.

Finally, Austin, Texas where we live is also experiencing a record heat wave. July looks to be the hottest ever recorded, with 15 consecutive days of temps 105 degrees or more, with no end in sight to this triple-digit heat wave.

Beautiful Lake Travis where we live outside of Austin is now down 45 feet from its normal full level. Fortunately, we live at one of the deeper spots on the 65-mile lake, so we can still get to our boat dock – but we have to walk down (and up!) 130 stairs each way.

In fact, we had our annual family reunion this past weekend with over 20 relatives staying in our home and guest house and enjoying time on the lake. It was great fun, as always, with lots of good food – including my signature fajitas and stuffed jalapeno peppers.

The extremely low lake level did not stop us from having a great family weekend on Lake Travis. This is not the first time the lake has been this low in the 34 years we have lived on the lake, and we are grateful to still have the use of our dock, boats, etc.

Hoping & praying for rain,

Gary D. Halbert

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