Steven C. Kyle, an expert in macroeconomics and government policy and an economics professor at Cornell’s Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, says that the celebration over 288,000 new jobs reported in today’s Bureau of Labor Statistics Employment Situation Summary is not an indication of a robust economic recovery, but instead an indication of how low national economic expectations have become.
“That the job number ‘blew past expectations’ is a testament to how beaten down our expectations have become. A normal recovery would see at least a few months of job growth in the neighborhood of 400,000 new jobs or higher – but we have yet to see any such thing as we ever so slowly pull out of our slump.
“While the sharp drop in the headline unemployment rate is a nice thing, and the job number itself was certainly better than what we have come to expect over the past couple of years, the fact that the labor participation rate is so low, and the employment/population ratio seemingly stuck shows that we have deeper problems.
“What would speed up our plodding pace of recovery? How about fixing our crumbling road system right now when interest rates are near zero and millions of construction workers are still unemployed? What is Congress waiting for? Do they think roads never need repair? Or that it would be better to wait until we have to pay 5 percent for the money to do it rather than 0 percent?
“Not only would an infrastructure program increase productivity but it would directly employ millions whose incomes could be taxed and whose food stamps and unemployment insurance would no longer have to be paid. It sounds simple but it seems that common sense is in short supply in Washington nowadays.”