Employment Increases by 215,000

The November Employment Situation Summary can be found here with the headline news being that payroll employment grew by 215,000, while the unemployment rate remained at 5.0%.

Interestingly, the household survey suggests employment fell by 52,000 resulting in a decline in the employment to population ratio from 62.9% to 62.8%, while the reported labor force rose by 97,000 with an unchanged labor force participation rate (66.1%).

Andrew Samwick provides more details.

Update: The MSNBC coverage of the employment news included this summary of remarks from Alan Greenspan about the federal deficit:

In remarks taped for a conference in Philadelphia Friday, meantime, Greenspan said he fears substantial damage to overall economic health in the United States if strong action isn’t taken to curb federal deficits that are likely to skyrocket as the baby boom generation retires. It is likely Congress will have to make “significant adjustments” in reducing benefits to future retirees, he said, adding that it appears the country has promised more than it can afford to deliver in Social Security and especially Medicare payments, given that health care costs have been exploding.

I agree with Dr. Greenspan that the deficit must be reduced – but why would he rule out repealing the 2001 tax cut, which he supported? It seems his support for the 2001 tax cut was the first salvo in the agenda to shift taxes away from capital onto labor. After all, his advocacy of reducing Social Security benefits means a backdoor employment tax increase since payroll contributions would have to stay near their current levels for his proposal to make any real dent in the massive federal deficit.

The Reuters coverage of Greenspan’s remarks notes why he wants more of the restraint in the form of spending cuts and less in the form of tax increases:

“Tax increases of sufficient dimension to deal with our looming fiscal problems arguably pose significant risks to economic growth and the revenue base,” he said, reiterating his conviction that the government should seek to “close the fiscal gap primarily, if not wholly, from the outlay side.”

Excuse me – but this sounds like the Laffer version of free lunch supply-side spin.