A good jobs report...with some exceptions

Why don't so many Americans feel a part of the economic recovery?  Well, let's look inside the numbers, as they like to say in sports.

We saw a new jobs report on Friday.  Unemployment is now 5.5%, a good number that reminds one of yesteryear.  The report also came with another story about participation:

The labor force participation rate is the percentage of the civilian non institutional population who participated in the labor force by either having a job during the month or actively seeking one.

In February, according to BLS, the nation’s civilian non institutional population, consisting of all people 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 249,899,000. Of those, 157,002,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.

The 157,002,000 who participated in the labor force was 62.8 percent of the 249,899,000 civilian noninsttutional population, which matches the 62.8 percent rate in April, May, June, and October of 2014 as well as the participation rate in March of 1978. The participation rate hit its lowest level since February 1978 (62.7 percent) in September and December of 2014.

Don't tell those Americans that happy days are here again.  They are not!

The report had bad news for black Americans:

The latest African American unemployment rate represents a slight uptick over the January figure of 10.3 percent. Whites experienced a slight decline in unemployment from January’s rate of 4.9 percent and the national average also dipped from 5.7 percent.

While the White House boasted about February’s job gains of 295,000 jobs and its 5.5 percent unemployment rate Friday morning, it did acknowledge the “unacceptably high” unemployment rates among African American and Hispanic populations.

My guess is that most black Americans thought that they'd be doing a little better than that in year 7 of our first black president.

Beyond partisanship, the report is more proof that the U.S. economy is missing two big things:

1) Growth.

2) An end to wage stagnation.

On the issue of growth, we've been seeing quarterly reports of 2% GDP growth.  The U.S. economy needs a spark, such as cutting corporate tax rates.

On the issue of wage stagnation, we saw more employment, but it's not having a broad effect on pay, as Bloomberg reported:

The demand for workers, though, isn’t yet having a broad effect on pay. Wal-Mart has promised raises starting in April, and the Fed has noted signs of wage pressure in some U.S. regions. 

But average hourly earnings in the private sector rose just 3 cents in February to an estimated $24.78. That's up 2 percent from a year earlier, far short of the pace that prevailed before the recession.

The White House is obviously beating the drum on the 5.5% unemployment number.  I understand that any White House would do the same thing.  Unfortunately, a lot of the working public is not cheering anything.  They just don't feel that this recovery is touching them at all.

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