Category Archives: manufacturing productivity
TomPaine.com, which is now known as OurFuture.org, is a great site that should be in everyone’s favorites..or blogroll. I get their daily newsletter that has articles and OpEds by some of the most intelligent and informed folks there are, and they happen to be left of the center or just fond of the truth. Today’s piece by Dr. Charles W. McMillion will explain the real state of the economy..and how the MSM will not even come close to telling you the truth:
Read this AP story on productivity growth and labor costs, then read the note below (written Wednesday) about the same Bureau of Labor Statistics report on employment, wages, output and productivity. This is a very clear example of how the media spin the news every day to hide economic troubles and mislead those who believe they are following economic conditions. All the major media spun this story in almost exactly in the same way as the AP.
The key finding in that report is that the total number of hours worked (and paid) in non-farm businesses during the fourth quarter of 2007 fell at an annual rate of 1.5 percent. Indeed, the total number of hours worked in the fourth quarter was less than in the fourth quarter of 2006. The report shows total non-farm jobs also falling at a 0.5 percent annualized rate in Q4 and rising by only 0.4 percent year over year.
Furthermore, after adjusting for the increased costs of gasoline, health care, etc., real average (not median) salary and benefit compensation for all U.S. workers fell at an annualized rate of 0.3 percent in the fourth quarter and by 0.3 percent year over year. Since total hours worked fell even with meager year over year job growth, this means that average real weekly and monthly hours paid per job were reduced along with the decline in real compensation per hour. With lavish soak-the-customers-and-shareholders bonuses on Wall Street lifting average compensation, the median decline in compensation was surely far worse.
Non-farm business output grew at only an annualized rate of less than 0.4 percent in the fourth quarter. But since total hours worked declined 1.5 percent, output per hour of work – productivity – grew at a rate of 1.8 percent. The vital distinction between virtually stagnant production growth and 1.8 percent productivity growth is lost in the confidence spin and fairy-tale assumptions.
An even better example is manufacturing. The report shows productivity in manufacturing rising at a seemingly reasonable rate of 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter. Appearances can be deceptive; manufacturing production fell 1.9 percent and the number of hours worked in manufacturing plunged 4.3 percent in the fourth quarter. That is, since employment plunged even faster than output, manufacturing output per hour worked – productivity – appears healthy.
With total hours worked over the past year falling slightly for all nonfarm business and by 0.8 percent in manufacturing, weak output growth of just 2.6 percent for all nonfarm business and just 1.8 percent in manufacturing translates into the same, misleadingly reassuring 2.6 percent productivity growth.
Indeed, this record weak output growth and virtually stagnant gain in hours worked has been the unique characteristic of the past six years of cyclical economic recovery from the recession that ended in November 2001.
Today’s report and the general ignorance of its key findings are again helping Wall Street attract new money after Tuesday’s steep sell-off. As with the debt fraud and recession, the time for “everyone” to be surprised will come later.
It’s all smoke and mirrors. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that we are being lied to on a regular basis about how good or bad our economy really is. Keeping us in the dark and feeding us bullshit is the way it’s been for some time now..thanks to our corporate-owned media conglomerates. Just keep spending money ok? You might not be making much more than you did a year or two or six ago..but keep spending it….