US unemployment falls again: jobless rate now better than Britain’s
The US January jobless figures came out today, and showed that December’s leap forward has been improved upon. In December, the economy grew by 200,000 jobs and in January a further 243,000 jobs were created, meaning that the unemployment rate has fallen from 8.6% to 8.3% in just two months and by 0.8% since August. That means that the US unemployment rate is now almost certainly better than the UK rate (which was 8.3% in 2011 Q4 and has deteriorated since) but even worse for us, we are heading in different directions. Apart from the fact that this surge of nearly half a million jobs in just two months suggests that the economy is improving just as the US heads towards its Presidential election, it does vindicate the efforts by President Obama to continue stimulating the economy: in contrast to what the UK Government is doing with predictably different results.
As the AFLCIO point out, the welcome recovery is still painfully slow, and at the current rate will not produce full employment until late in the decade (although recoveries tend to accelerate as people begin to go back to work because tax revenues increase, benefit expenditure falls and consumer demand grows all at the same time) . That reflects the weak stimulus which is all that the Democrats have managed to push through a Republican-dominated Congress, and the cuts in public sector employment of 276,000 forced on the President in 2011. But it does further demonstrate that there are alternatives to the headlong austerity being practiced in the UK and large parts of Europe.