Kathleen Rice tweeted that the September economic report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was “good news.” That claim comes as a surprise to many Long Islanders, especially those who have left the job search altogether.
In a tweet on October 3 at 2:41pm, which garnered no retweets or favorites, Rice wrote “Some good news for the US economy…” along with a link to a media story on September 2014 job numbers. But as Nassau residents know, many do not feel like the economy is improving. According to a Pew Research poll, 56% of Americans say “they are falling behind” financially. (Source: Pew Research, September 4, 2014)
“While Kathleen Rice is at $1,000 per person Manhattan fundraisers with Nancy Pelosi, the economy may look like it’s making an improvement, but when I’m knocking on doors, talking to men and women young and old, they are hurting,” said Bruce Blakeman, Republican-Conservative-Independence nominee for Congress.
“I have a message for my opponent: flat wages, higher prices and too many part-time jobs are not ‘good news,'”Blakeman said.
“All neighbors want is the opportunity to succeed. I’m the only candidate in this race with a plan to give middle class families and young professionals from all backgrounds that opportunity,” Blakeman said.
Blakeman was referring to the “real” unemployment numbers, the U-6 numbers of 11.8% which economic experts say is a broader measure of the unemployment situation. The recession drove many people out of the labor force, and the ongoing lack of job opportunities has kept many potential jobseekers on the sidelines and not counted in the official unemployment rate. This is captured in the U-6 Numbers.
U-6 numbers include two groups that are not counted in the much-reported U-3 numbers: people who are looking for full-time work but must settle on a part-time job as no full-time opportunities can be found and “marginally attached workers,” or people who are not actively looking for work now but who have done so sometime in the past 12 months.
While September’s U-3 unemployment rate fell by 0.2%, much of that gain came from the labor force shrinking by 97,000 people. If the participation rate remained at August levels, the unemployment rate would have remained at 6.1%.
And leading groups from all sides agree with Blakeman:
“Many people who want to work and would be working if the labor market were stronger have stopped looking until their job prospects improve, so they are not counted among the unemployed. Indeed, the labor force shrank in September, contributing to the fall in unemployment. In addition, many people working part-time jobs would prefer full time work if it were available,” said Chad Stone, the Chief Economist for the non-partisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
And the NAACP described the report as showing a “Low Labor Force” and “High Poverty,” slamming the fact that “wages continue to stagnate” and that “the unemployment figure…does not reflect the realities of many African-Americans as African American workers continued to be unemployed…wages in the job sectors where African American workers are concentrated remain far below what anyone would consider a ‘living wage.’”
Said Blakeman: “Kathleen Rice will vote for a new ‘Carbon Tax’ that will hurt families and seniors who’d see a spike in gasoline and home heating oil costs at a time when people are fighting to make ends meet.
“Kathleen Rice has no program to improve the economy and only offers a hike in the minimum wage as a solution to wage stagnation. People want careers not minimum wage jobs.”
Blakeman again highlighted his plans to create jobs and build a healthy economy by:
· – Fixing and reforming our tax code by making it flatter, fairer and simpler for all Nassau families and seniors, putting a focus on eliminating special interest loopholes;
· – Repealing Obamacare which is killing jobs and taxing the middle class with commonsense proposals that lowers costs, improves healthcare quality and increases accessibility;
· – Lowering the cost of energy which make or break household budgets and small businesses by implementing a national energy policy that means expanding energy exploration; utilizing alternative energy sources like solar and wind; developing more nuclear energy; and reining in mandates on energy suppliers and developers.