Saturday, August 04, 2018


It must be a Trump recovery for blue-collar workers, because The New York Times effectively says so:
Workers Hardest Hit by Recession Are Joining in Recovery

The least educated American workers, who took the hardest hit in the Great Recession, were also among the slowest to harvest the gains of the recovery. Now they are a striking symbol of a strong economy.

The unemployment rate for those without a high school diploma fell to 5.1 percent in July, the Labor Department reported Friday, the lowest since the government began collecting data on such workers in 1992. At the economy’s nadir in the summer of 2009, the unemployment rate for high school dropouts hit 15.6 percent, more than three times the peak unemployment rate for college graduates.

... Other indicators suggest the recovery is finally extending its reach. The Labor Department’s broadest measure of unemployment, which includes workers forced to take part-time jobs because full-time positions are unavailable, fell to 7.5 percent in July, the lowest since 2001.

All this has translated into better economic opportunities for workers without a college degree, who account for a majority of the work force. It is a contingent that was championed by Mr. Trump during his presidential campaign....
But if you look at a chart that appears in the same Times article, you don't see a sudden improvement in blue-collar workers' job prospects -- you see a years-long trend that started under Obama and continues at the same pace:

Even the White House isn't trying to conceal the origin of the recovery, although it also credits Trump:

(The chart is the ratio of employment to population. It's also posted at

I understand that, with regard to hiring of the less educated, we appear to have hit "critical mass" or a "tipping point" or whichever cliché you want to use. That's good. But it's a continuation of existing trends. The Times doesn't conceal that fact, but the emphasis is on the seeming breakthrough rather than the long approach to that breakthrough. That's pro-Trump spin.

It's likely that we would have seen very similar numbers under President Hillary Clinton -- and I suspect that the spin wouldn't have been the same. It's not just that regular Fox commentator Donald Trump would have been among the many right-wing pundits denouncing the data as fake news and assuring us that hiring was actually very weak. It's also that elected Republicans would have been saying the same thing, and probably being heeded by the mainstream press. At best, President Clinton would get a grudging acknowledgment that she'd sustained the recovery, but we'd be told that it was all Obama's doing. She'd get no credit for a blue-collar breakthrough.

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