Back in the early mid-1980s as unemployment started to plummet, after having spiked up to over 10%, critics of then-President Ronald Reagan’s economic policies said most of the new jobs created were at fast food joints like McDonalds. Indeed, given that some of his critics were leading figures in the media, the term McJobs quickly gained currency:
Since the 1980s, McJobs had become synonymous with low-paying jobs with no growth opportunities. Analysts felt that such jobs imparted a few skills to workers that would be more or less of no use to them in the future
Well, with unemployment still high today, the unemployment rate now one full point higher than the highest rate promised if the president’s “stimulus” plan passed (and at the highest rate forecast should that plan have been defeated in Congress), Jim Hoft reminds us that “McDonald’s created one quarter of the jobs last month.” For some reason, I don’t think the critics of Reagan’s plan (or their ideological heirs) will be offering the same criticisms of Obama’s plan.
Please note that I’ve circled the part on the chart (based on estimates from the president’s economic team) of the unemployment forecast in the absence of the plan. They said it would peak at 9%–which is the latest figure offered by the Labor Department.
To be sure, even as the unemployment rate has increased, private employers like McDonald’s did great hundreds of thousands of new jobs. Ed Morrissey helps us unpack this apparent ambiguity:
The rise in unemployment and in job creation could be good news, in that previously discouraged workers might be coming back to the work force. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case. The percentage of re-entrants among the unemployed actually held steady in for the past six months at 2.2%, and is actually lower than last April’s 2.4%. New entrants among the unemployed have held steady at 0.9%. The only real improvement in the profile has come from job losers and those completing temporary jobs, now 5.3% from last April’s 6.0% and January’s 5.6%. The number of people marginally attached to the workforce slightly rose from last year’s April figure by 34,000.
Marginally attached to the workforce?!? Hmmm. . . . Sounds a lot like a lot of people have what pundits once derided as “McJobs.”
Wonder if that meme will catch on as it did in the 1980s. Well, maybe not in the mainstream media.
FROM THE COMMENTS: ILoveCapitalism captures something I missed, “note also that the part you circled (peak unemployment) is IN 2010. A year ago.” So, Obama’s own economists said unemployment would have been lower today had we not implemented his plan!