Politics

The Missing Millions

jobs computer work millionsThe economy now has over six million job vacancies, according to the Labor Department,  that’s a record since the Department began tracking the data in 2000. Openings were highest in the Midwest and West, followed by the South and Northeast. Employers are clearly confident and trying to increase hires.

Job openings are available across a wide range of skill levels, ranging from high-skill professional services to lower-skill education and health services and construction.  For those who want to work, openings exist.

Some of the openings are due to natural turnover between jobs, ever-present in an economy. Other are due to a skills mismatch, or because applicants have drug or felony problems. Resolving these issues are the subject of another column. But at the same time as the vacancies, almost 60 percent of nonworking men are on federal disability benefits. Over 13.2 percent of Americans are on food stamps and 25 percent are on Medicaid. As these benefits have increased, fewer Americans are working.

Most of the decline in labor force participation is from those under 54, not from older Americans, whose labor force participation rates are increasing.  Where are the missing millions looking for work?

Increases in benefits have likely contributed to the decline in participation, according to University of Chicago economics professor Casey B. Mulligan, the 2014 winner of the Manhattan Institute’s Hayek Prize. Mulligan suggests  that increases in federal benefits since 2007, such as disability insurance, food stamps, and other means tested programs, have discouraged people from working.

In other work, Mulligan has estimated  that the likely effect on the labor force of Obamacare will be reduced employment.  Some employees will have to work more, and others less, with an average reduction in employment of 3 percent.

Although the economy is generating record levels of vacancies, the labor force as a percent of the population is still at 1970s levels and has not returned to prior stages.  This lower labor force participation will eventually lead to slower economic growth and steadily higher federal and state tax burdens, even if Congress reduces taxes and modifies Social Security and Medicare benefits for future retirees.

This is also a problem in Japan and Europe, where the ratio of the retired to the working is rising.

By consolidating benefits and returning them to pre-recession levels, the employment rate would likely rise by eliminating some of the disincentives for people to work. One approach to these programs would be to phase them out gradually as Americans enter the labor market and find work.

Giving states flexibility to design their own welfare programs would catalyze state-based reforms designed to shift people out of poverty and into the workforce. This flexibility, combined with capping federal welfare funds to states at the rate of inflation and the number of people below the poverty line, could save billions of dollars a year.

Because many programs are funded by the federal government, states currently lack an incentive to get people off welfare rolls. Food stamps encourage states to expand enrollment and increase benefits as a way to receive more federal money, at no cost to state treasuries. Capping the currently unlimited inflow of Washington funds would require states to focus on moving individuals off public support.

If states were allowed to direct savings from welfare spending to other uses, such as infrastructure, they would have more of an incentive to cut costs and make programs more efficient.

Providing states with increased flexibility to shift resource levels between welfare programs offers other advantages. States with low food prices but high housing costs might shift resources from food stamps to housing programs. States could also use funding from existing programs to experiment with new ones, such as low-cost community college workforce training and apprenticeships.

One positive example is New York City’s welfare caseload, which declined by nearly 70 percent between 1994 and 2009, while employment rates for single mothers rose from 43 percent to 63 percent. Robert Doar, who served as state or city commissioner during much of the period, credited the change to the city’s requirement that welfare recipients work as a condition of benefits payments. Under his direction, the Human Resources Administration resembled an employment agency where work, not training, was a more effective path to getting people off welfare rolls.

The increase in job vacancies is a welcome sign of a growing economy. Now the challenge is getting the vacancies filled.


From - Economics21.org - by Diana Furchtgott-Roth

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SARGE
5 years ago

So do you think kaepernick is counting in the unemployment roles. M sorry, I just read something about him and it took me off subject.

Lee McQuillen
5 years ago

I seem to remember that many were encouraged to go on disability when their unemployment ran out and were successful at it. With Workers Compensation, people are checked as to their disability situation. SS disability should be the same way. I’d bet there are quite a few on disability who never should have been in the first place as well as those who are no longer disabled. Perhaps the definition of “disabled” is incorrect.

SARGE
5 years ago

Ya know, when candidate Donald Trump keep talking about all the jobs he was going to create, I wondered where all these people were going to come from. I thought this was going to happen. President Trump gives some Americans way too much credit. A lot of people are very content to live on the down low, not work, not strive for anything more than mere existence. A lot of people do this, you just dont notice because you dont share in their lives. Thank God!! A lot more then you have any idea.

Evelyn
5 years ago

If they are able to work, take the food stamps away NOW. If they are on drugs, take the food stamps away NOW. Being on drugs does not qualify them as disabled to be on ANY gov’t program. If they go hungry long enough they might learn how to work and be responsible for their drug problem.
Evelyn

Cookiepress
5 years ago

The welfare system in this country is oppressive. In the mid 70s I was on it for several months as my husband walked out on me and our 2 babies. Thankfully I had a mother who had enough room for me and the kids to move in with her. I managed to get a cocktail waitressing job then graduated to head bartender in a nice restaurant. I was able to take care of myself and my kids and pay rent to my mother. While on welfare, I tried to get help from them to get a job and have the kids taken care of so I could work. I was discouraged. I was told they would not help with babysitting that I would have to travel over an hour on 2 buses to get them to a day care center then 2 buses to training and vice versa. There is no such thing as a hand up only a hand out in the system. It discourages people from working

Roger B
5 years ago

6 million job openings verses 53 million killed by abortion since 1973. So…. what should America have done in the past 44 years? Quite killing off the workforce!! And,,,killing innocents ain’t right regardless.

Rev. R.S. Helms
5 years ago

good post, … shows it is out there in abundance for those who want to work for it, … but of course of the non-working men 60% are on some sort of disability, of course, there is those who actually need it, but something is really wrong when single mothers now working is up by rose 20%, which I agree with Doodlebug’s reply to Glenn, … laziness leads the list in the shortage of workers, laziness and subsistence fraud. and yes I am pro-life and what goes around comes around is relevant, nonetheless eight years of Obama’s push to achieve a “welfare state” is perhaps the biggest culprit.

rdeana
5 years ago

GO President Trump! Let the over-paid media get
out of the way and get Republicans who campaigned pro-
Trump and
anti Obama-Clinton vote what they promised. We still
need to empty the swamp

Trap
5 years ago

I would like to see all articles, anywhere, stop saying ” Federally Funded” !!!!! dad gum it they are ‘TAXPAYER” funded. I. like millions of others have been saying for years to lower the handouts and in most cases, stop the handouts. Get a dang job. We could most likely build the wall with money saved from redoing all welfare. God help us

God Bless America
Trap

R Dean Amos
5 years ago
Reply to  Trap

I concur. If you are getting the milk free, why buy he cow?
If you are able, go to work. You still may be able to get
“some” assistance. Depends on your state, your location.

Glenn Lego
5 years ago

Chickens coming home to roost. After 45 years of little kids getting aborted there’s bound to be a shortage of qualified labor, tax payers, etc. Surprised there’s not more of a shortage than there is!

Doodlebug
5 years ago
Reply to  Glenn Lego

Glenn, while am a pro life advocate I do not believe the shortage of workers is due to abortions. I believe the shortage is due primarily to the fact that welfare is so rampant. Why get up everyday and go to work when you can simply lay about and get paid? Welfare reform should be a high priority along with getting the government out of our schools. Young people today know how to use a computer but can’t read, spell or do math worth a flip. We need to get back to the basics and promote skills training in high school and quit pushing kids to go to college. This is especially important now because our colleges have become indoctrination facilities for socialism. That piece of paper can be bought for a tidy sum and you don’t even have to attend class on a regular basis. I know, been there-done that.
I have worked with college degreed people who don’t even have a basic knowledge of work ethics. Anyway, back to the problem at hand…too many people on welfare that do not want to earn a living but are quite content to have a handout.

SlipperCity
5 years ago
Reply to  Doodlebug

Don’t forget the number of women who refuse to take birth control pills, who WANT to get pregnant because it is their meal ticket to welfare. Then the men then move in with these women and sit around all day playing their X-Box and watching TV so we have whole families who don’t want to work. These people are given housing, diapers because they can’t afford them, food stamps, fuel assistance, the list goes on and on. I see these people walking with their “meal tickets” along the city streets every day. You are right… these people don’t want to work, and the people who pay lip service and say they want to work have never built the skills that employers need.

Trap
5 years ago
Reply to  Doodlebug

to some degree IMO it is both but mostly the welfare. People living better on taxpayer handouts then those working should never have happened. Not to mention when I was working I had to agree to drug test. IMO every dang person on welfare of any kind should be drug tested. test positive, taxpayer money stops right then and there. Get a job to buy your drugs so us taxpayers don’t have to.

God Bless America
Trap

SlipperCity
5 years ago
Reply to  Trap

The welfare recipients could not duplicate the money they receive when on welfare if their life depended on it, so they NEVER go back to work (if they ever had a job in the first place). In Massachusetts, a welfare recipient receives the equivalent of about $60,000. in pre-tax income. You tell me who in the world could make that much money while working.

Paul
5 years ago
Reply to  Doodlebug

I absolutely agree!! Our 13 year old grandson was visiting one day. We were having dinner and he asked his Mom what time it was. I said there was a clock on the wall in front of him!! His Mom said they don’t teach kids how to tell time on a clock with hands anymore!! I checked into to it and it’s true!!! What the hell is going on???

SARGE
5 years ago
Reply to  Paul

So why didnt you ask your daughter why she didnt teach him to tell time. A perfect example of parents relying on teachers to teach a kid basic everyday knowledge. Parents relying on schools to feed their kids too, thats total bs. Seems to me, the kid should have already known how to tell time before he even started school. Sorry, really am, BUT 13 yrs old and dont know how to use a clock. Blame the parent at that age.

Lincoln W. Sorensen
5 years ago
Reply to  Glenn Lego

Glenn, you seem to be responding on this site to some other article. This article is revealing the fact that for far too long entitlements were more lucrative than working. Now in some locales the requirements of either working or school has been reinstated and consequently many have left the snap program. Those requirements were waived by Obama when he became POTUS.

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