Classical economics and the unemployment rate in the United States

As anyone who understands classical economic theory would understand – which might include around half a dozen people across the world today – “demand for commodities is not demand for labour”. That is John Stuart Mill’s Fourth Fundamental Proposition on Capital. The number of jobs in an economy is unrelated to the level of aggregate demand. This, I need hardly tell you, is in direct contradiction of the whole of modern macroeconomic theory. Which brings us to the latest jobs report in the United States. U.S. Economy Adds Record 2.5 Million Jobs in May, Unemployment Rate Falls to 13.3%.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported the U.S. economy added 2.5 million jobs, the largest gain ever recorded and the unemployment rate fell to 13.3 in May.

Well economic good news of such a colossal dimension cannot be allowed to stand on its own so this is what the media reported on instead: Fake News: Media Rush to Decry Trump Quote on George Floyd During Jobs Report Presser – Except He Didn’t Say It

President Trump held a press conference/signing ceremony today at the Rose Garden where he talked about the good news revealed by the BLS’s report before signing a bill that will “give recipients of government small business loans during the coronavirus more flexibility in how they spend the money.”

During the speech he gave before signing the bill, Trump also talked about a number of issues including racial equality in the context of the death of George Floyd last Monday, which happened after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin had his knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly 9 minutes.

CBS News is one of the few news outlets that actually reported Trump’s comments accurately while providing some context:

But black unemployment rose slightly from 16.7% in April to 16.8% in May, in a month the president declared a “tribute to equality” as the nation protests racial discrimination and police brutality. Mr. Trump also seemed to declare success after a week of protests that swept the nation.

“Equal justice under the law must mean that every American receives equal treatment in every encounter with law enforcement, regardless of race, color, gender or creed, they have to receive fair treatment from law enforcement,” the president said. “They have to receive it. We all saw what happened last week. We can’t let that happen. Hopefully, George is looking down right now and saying this is a great thing that’s happening for our country. This is a great day for him, it’s a great day for everybody. This is a great day for everybody. This is a great, great day in terms of equality.”

See for yourself.

Wouldn’t have mentioned it except this media lie was the first thing said to me by my wife this morning.

For added pleasure, you might also wish to read this as well: Paul Krugman Caught in Hilarious Self-Own After Furiously Spinning Conspiracy Theories About Good Jobs Report.