On October 2, 2020, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) issued its latest employment report and it wasn’t good news. Unemployment, BLS said, stood at 7.9%. It marked the fifth straight month that unemployment dropped, after the enormous jump from 4.4% in March (itself a significant increase over February’s 3.5%) to 14.7% in April.
But the September decline was only 0.5% and still left the United States well above February’s level when the labor market was extremely healthy. Or was it?
Most of what we hear about the economy, from journalists, politicians, economists, and pundits, is that we need to get back to where we were before COVID hit. But mid-way through October, that seems an unlikely prospect.
The debacle of the first presidential debate left no real substance to talk about. What little there was got buried under the ninety-minute spectacle of Joe Biden fighting to maintain some composure and dignity under the onslaught of childishness, boorishness, and general Trumpishness of the sitting president.
But one thing Biden said caught my attention. I think it demonstrates a fundamental problem that we have in confronting racism in this country. Nearly an hour into the circus, moderator Chris Wallace (who is getting far more criticism for this disaster than he merits—people are criticizing him, but no one can control a president who is intent on disrupting things. But I digress) asked Trump about his new attack on racial sensitivity training.