The 2018 election got its closing argument from an unusual place on November 2: The U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Jobs versus mobs has become a popular slogan in the last month of the mid-term election campaign, but with the October employment report still scheduled, the facts could have become very inconvenient for Republicans touting a strong economy. Then on Friday, America got the big reveal.
One of the best jobs reports imaginable.
250,000 more jobs created in October alone, in spite of the impacts of two major hurricanes. The unemployment rate rests at 3.7 percent, the lowest rate since 1969, the year Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. More than 4 million jobs created since Donald Trump became President, with more than 1,000 manufacturing jobs created each day during October and nearly 300,000 overall in the Trump time in office. And when it comes to where the rubber meets the road – in the paycheck – America got a raise over the past year which exceeded the inflation rate. That’s right, a real raise year-over-year for the first time in nine years.
What’s more the latest government report on Job Opportunities and Labor Turnover which measures how many jobs are open showed an astounding 7.1 million jobs waiting to be filled, while there are fewer than 6.1 million unemployed Americans to fill them. Labor is in demand, and that means wages are going to continue northward for the foreseeable future.
But perhaps the most stunning number in the entire set of unemployment reports is that the broadest measure of unemployment known as U-6, is down a full 2 percent since the beginning of 2017 to 7.4 percent, the lowest point it has reached in 17 years. The U-6 unemployment rate is defined as, “The percentage of the labor force that does not have a job, or is part-time employed and would like full-time employment.”
The U-6 number does not require that you have looked for a job, only that you would like one. It also considers those who work part-time but want full-time employment to be in the same category as those who are unemployed. Those who were previously being left behind economically are joining the workforce and they are being welcomed with open arms by hungry employers.
Why this matters is because the jobs report is about more than numbers, it is about the lives reflected through those numbers. When jobs are plentiful, people feel free to ask for raises or other benefits like more flexible work schedules. People who have given up, regain hope and rejoin the economy.
People feel safe in asking for these things because they have a confidence that they can leave their existing job and be able to get a new, better one without too much of a problem. This freedom of individual labor mobility allows people to chase their dreams, change careers, and leave for more money or better working conditions, rather than sticking it out where they are unhappy.
America’s economy is stronger due to lower taxes, less regulation and better trade deals, and the people are benefitting from it.
They also know they have a real choice on whether to go back to the choking taxes of the Obama Administration by voting in a socialism-leaning Congress.
Historically, the mid-term election during a President’s first term should go very badly for that President’s political party. But few Presidents have unleashed an economic boom the way that Trump has. Now we will find out if that is enough to offset pretty deep historical trends.
The October employment report tells a story of a working America, it tells of a prospering America, and it tells of a revitalized America.
The election will tell us if America has yet noticed.
Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government.