The September 2012 Unemployment Numbers and the ‘Surplus Population’

This post concentrates on the U.S. economy. However, the basic trends are the same in all imperialist countries.

On October 5, the U.S. Labor Department issued its monthly estimate of unemployment for September 2012. Much to the surprise of most observers, the figures showed a drop of unemployment from 8.1 to 7.8 percent. For the first time in 44 months, unemployment dropped below the psychologically significant level of 8 percent.

The reported drop in unemployment gave a much needed shot in the arm for the Obama reelection campaign, which had been reeling in the wake of the president’s poor performance in his first debate with Republican challenger Mitt Romney. As could be expected, Democrats were delighted by the unemployment report, which at first glance seemed to indicate that the lagging recovery from the 2007-09 “Great Recession” was finally gaining momentum.

Republicans, on the other hand, were disappointed, and some could hardly hide their anger. Jack Welch, the former head of the General Electric Company and a staunch Republican, infamous for his “downsizing” and layoffs when he was head of GE, even hinted that the unemployment report was deliberately falsified by the Obama administration to boost the president’s chances of reelection.

Is it possible that Welch is right? As we will see, of far greater importance is what the Labor Department’s rate of unemployment actually measures.

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One Response to “The September 2012 Unemployment Numbers and the ‘Surplus Population’”

  1. Ross Wolfe Says:

    Not sure if you’d be interested in passing this along or putting up some kind of notice for readers who may be interested, but this upcoming event seems related to the focus of your blog:

    Panel: Radical Interpretations of the Present Crisis

    LOREN GOLDNER ┇ DAVID HARVEY ┇ ANDREW KLIMAN ┇ PAUL MATTICK

    // November 14th, 2012
    8-10:30PM

    // Wollman Hall, Eugene Lang building, 6th floor
    The New School for Social Research
    65 W 11th St
    New York, NY 10011

    Join the Facebook event page.
    Download an image file of the event flier.
    Download the PDF version of the event flier.

    Hosted by the Platypus Affiliated Society.

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