Monet reading a newspaper, Piere August Renoir

In case readers wonder if traditional Republican (aka Conservative) ideas are still worth considering, I offer some model programs that have been put into play and are working.  Albuquerque’s Mayor Richard Berry initiated “There’s a Better Way” as a response to increased homelessness.  This program offers homeless people public service work in exchange for a wage, food and shelter.  Participants are able to access city services, including health care, and about 100 have found permanent employment through the program.  Governor Walker of Wisconsin led an overhaul of the state’s  FoodShare Employment and Training (FSET) program, linking food stamp benefits provided to able-bodied recipients without dependent to working at least 80 hours a month.  It also provides access to job search and job training services.  In the past year, 14, 400 FSET participants have found permanent employment. Of course, Conservatives are strong believers of community-based solutions, such as the Joseph Project.  This career placement program is based out of  the Greater Praise Church of God in Christ in Milwaukie Wisconsin, and is sponsored by Senator Ron Johnson and other community leaders.  At a national level, House Speaker Paul Ryan has offered a comprehensive anti-poverty plan as a core piece of the Republican legislative agenda.


Only 38,000 new jobs were created nationally in May.  This is off projections by about 120,000.  Most of these new jobs were in healthcare.  There was a decrease in unemployment by about 480,000, but there was an increase in involuntary part-time work of about 470,000.  In other words, unemployment dipped because workers had to settle for part-time hours.  You can read the detailed “Employment Situation Summary” from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics here.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that unemployment is at 4.9%.  That is the lowest it has been for a long time.  However, 2.1 million people are still classified as “long term unemployed,” and 6 million people are still employed part-time for economic reasons (meaning they want to work full-time but can’t find a full-time job).  The labor force participation rate is still at 62.7 percent.

Nonsequitur: Walmart Layoffs

January 15, 2016


Walmart has announced it will close 269 stores, 154 in the US.  The closures will affect about 16,000 workers, 10,000 in the US.  More information here.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics,  unemployment was steady at 5% last month.  New jobs were up by 292,000 (which is about as good as we’ve had for a while) including growth in construction.  Most other measures remained unchanged.