[Marxism] CBO statistics [was: The absence of real forces [was: Thelow point]]

Marvin Gandall marvgandall at videotron.ca
Sat Aug 4 05:18:59 MDT 2007

Joaquin writes:

> Sayan quotes: "According to the Congressional Budget Office, earnings for
> the poorest fifth of Americans are also on the increase."
> I think what is really on the increase are the problems with government
> statistics that measure the situation at the bottom of the socio-economic
> ladder...As defined by the government, the only
> undocumented Latino immigrants that are unemployed are in graveyards...
> With this large population of up to 20 million undocumented, the
> modalities
> through which unemployment manifests have changed, but the instrument that
> detects unemployment has not been adjusted to pick up these new
> modalities.
Exactly right. There was a recent Deutsche Bank study which puzzled about
the same thing you mention: why, given declining growth, especially in
residential housing, is the official US unemployment rate still hovering at
a relatively low 4.5%, about the same as last year, before the downturn?

Housing construction has plunged by 25%, yet employment in the sector has
reportedly only fallen by 4%, or 140,000 workers. The DB economists expected
to see upwards of 900,000 construction jobs reported lost.

They share your conclusion that the reason for the discrepancy is the strong
presence in construction of undocumented Hispanic workers, who have born the
brunt of the losses - some 500,000 by their reckoning - and whose layoffs,
of course, aren't captured in the government figures. And this is only in a
single industry, albeit the hardest hit where there is a high percentage of
Hispanics. ("A Bumpier Ride", The Economist, July 18, 2007).

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