So overall, this was a positive report. And it's good to see more Americans working. But there are still some serious warts in the jobs story.
One of those warts is a low 2.1 percent wage gain for the workforce. Wage growth for the last couple of years has been stuck around 2 percent. Even optimistic economist Mike Darda calls this "unimpressive take-home pay." Worker wages are barely running ahead of inflation.
Another blemish in the jobs picture is the rock-bottom employment-to-population ratio. It's sitting at only 58.9 percent, versus a pre-recession peak of 63.4 percent. And the labor-force participation rate didn't move in May. It's stuck at 62.8 percent.
Looking at working-age demographics, some believe there's a jobs gap of nearly 7 million. And economist Scott Grannis notes that while private-sector jobs have been growing at roughly 2 percent for years, productivity has slumped to less than 1 percent.
So putting it all together, overall economic growth is still trapped in a sub-par growth zone. And it will remain there, Grannis says, "Unless and until policies in Washington become more growth-friendly (e.g. reduced tax and regulatory burdens)."
Aha! Growth-friendly policies.
As you know, this is an election year. So let's see where the two political parties stack up on the subject of growth.
The Democrats want a minimum-wage hike. That may sound great on the surface, but it's actually a big job loser for the least-skilled and poorest among us. President Obama and his EPA have launched a war on coal, which will cost hundreds of thousands of jobs if implemented. And then there's Obamacare, which the CBO estimates will cost at least 2.5 million jobs.
Not a lot of growth-friendly policies coming from the Democrats.
But what of the Republicans? Where are their growth policies? Alas, with some notable individual exceptions, I fail to see a united GOP growth message.
NEW TIME Today, at 9:30 AM PT: Get the Market Movements in Advance; Williams Edge Webinar for January 28th 2014 | John Ransom
NEW TIME Today, at 9:30 AM PT: Get the Market Movements in Advance; Williams Edge Webinar for January 26th, 2014 | John Ransom