Uncertainty and Unemployment

While last week’s news of the unemployment rate falling to its lowest in more than two years was very welcome, as the Wall Street Journal pointed out:

…the main reason for the big drop in that number and the fall in the jobless rate wasn’t more people working, but fewer people looking for work….

…There are still six million fewer Americans working today than before the financial meltdown, making this by far the worst jobs recovery in modern times.

And in this current “jobless recovery,” nearly every discussion of the failure of businesses to add employment—including one I heard on NPR last week!—now includes consideration of regime uncertainty as the most likely explanation.

This only makes the Obama administration’s decision to pile more regulation and uncertainty onto the very businesses they purport to want to see create jobs more nonsensical. Under orders of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), private-sector employers must post a new notice in their places of business by January 31, 2012, detailing their employees’ “rights” to collude in seeking higher wages and changes in working conditions; to form, join and assist a union; and to bargain collectively with their employer.

Meanwhile, on December 1, in a contentious 2-1 vote, the NLRB moved a step further towards implementing new rules that will grant unions significantly greater advantages against employers they are attempting to unionize, including denying many pre-election challenges.

Since employment declines in highly unionized sectors (except, of course, the public sector), with six million fewer jobs in three years, one wonders how many more will be lost—and if their loss will continue to be touted as “lower unemployment.”

Mary L. G. Theroux is Senior Vice President of the Independent Institute. Having received her A.B. in economics from Stanford University, she is Managing Director of Lightning Ventures, L.P., a San Francisco Bay Area investment firm, former Chairman of the Board of Advisors for the Salvation Army of both San Francisco and Alameda County, and Vice President of the C.S. Lewis Society of California.
Full Biography
Beacon Posts by Mary Theroux
  • Catalyst
  • MyGovCost.org
  • FDAReview.org
  • OnPower.org
  • elindependent.org