While Hillary Clinton is trying to convince Coal Country that she cares, the BLS reports that 7,000 jobs in mining were lost in April alone, totaling 191,000 mining and mining-related jobs lost since September 2014. Earlier this week I wrote about the lack of political support for “dirty jobs” that actually pay quite well, and this is a prime example.
Meanwhile, the labor force participation rate sputtered along at 62.8 percent, down from 63 percent in March. On the bright side, the unemployment rate for African-Americans fell slightly, from 9 percent to 8.8 percent, but the teenage unemployment rate (16 to 19 years) is a solid 16 percent, up one-tenth of a point from last month.
Something else to think about: A few days ago, the BLS reported that unit labor costs increased 4.1 percent over the January – March 2016 quarter. Unit labor cost is the ratio of hourly compensation to labor productivity (output per hour). In this case, hourly compensation increased 3 percent but productivity fell 1 percent. It is akin to paying somebody more to do less, which, if it continues, does not bode well for future job growth.