by Seth Sandronsky
March 17, 2003
Three hundred and eight thousand.† Thatís the official number of U.S. jobs that were lost in February, according to the Labor Department.
It noted that ďJob losses were widespread, with retail trade and services posting especially large declines.Ē† And the skin color dimension of U.S. unemployment was glaring.
The February jobless rate for blacks was 10.5 percent versus 5.0 percent for whites.† The last hired are the first to be fired.
So much for a color-blind job market.† The economics of racism is alive and well in America.
Apparently, employment security isnít a part of the White Houseís freedom program for the American people. U.S. unemployment shows the real face of such freedom to the world.
In February, the unemployment rate reached 5.8 percent versus 5.7 percent in January.† Some 8.5 million Americans were out of work both months.
Moreover, about 1.9 million people were jobless for 27 weeks or longer in February.† Such long-term joblessness was the fate of 22 percent of the nationís unemployed workers, up from 15 percent in February 2002.
And 450,000 people were so discouraged by the job market that they had given up seeking paid employment in February, according to the Labor Department.†
It had reported that there were 372,000 discouraged workers last August.
Official statistics, of course, tell only a partial story of the nationís jobs crisis.† Take some work places and their retired workers.
What happens when private and public employers donít hire new workers to replace departing retirees?† How many of these unreplaced jobs donít show up in the official statistics?
Being free from paid work that covers the cost of living is no freedom at all.† Joblessness is an effect of a market economy, as night follows day.
Freedom isnít about two people fighting for one job.† Being free to compete on the market is a ruse.
Meanwhile, the American peopleís tax dollars are being used to attack foreign people to increase U.S. geopolitical power.† Such a social organization isnít a law of nature.
Moreover, the Bush administrationís increased military spending isnít creating a jobs boom for American workers.† A U.S. attack on Iraq (then North Korea?) is no ďsolutionĒ to the problem of domestic unemployment.
American workers out of a job surely have a thing or two to say about the White Houseís view of national security.† In the ďland of the free and the home of the brave,Ē these workers have an important story to tell.
Seth Sandronsky is a member of Sacramento/Yolo Peace Action, and an editor with Because People Matter, Sacramento's progressive newspaper. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org