Biden's low scores on the economy reflect reality

For all the White House bragging about the strength of the economy, most Americans still don't approve of President Biden's performance on the issue. Because they were left behind, especially Native-born Americans.

This is most evident in figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. If one only looks at the headline numbers in each monthly report, the economy appears to be racing. Nonfarm payrolls rose and unemployment fell.

But few analysts ask questions like what kinds of jobs are added to the economy, how much they pay, who has the jobs, or why the unemployment rate is so low.

The economy doesn't include high-wage, full-time jobs that come with benefits. The number of full-time jobs was roughly flat over the past 12 months, so essentially all job growth was part-time employment. As layoffs increase, more Americans are replacing their previous jobs with more than one part-time job.

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This increases the number of wages without increasing the number of people employed, which helps explain the unprecedented difference between the two categories. The shift to lower-paid part-time work is so dramatic that it drags down average hourly wages.

Indeed, December and January 2020 marked the largest two-month decline in full-time employment since the government-imposed lockdowns in March and April.

In addition to those losing their primary job, Americans are increasingly taking on second or third jobs to make ends meet.

But even BLS statistics on multiple job holders understate the extent of the problem. If someone gets a second job, it increases the number of multiple job holders. But if that person gets a third job, it won't.

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60% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and it's no wonder many of them hold extra jobs because they have a record $1.1 trillion in credit card debt to cover the needs.

The low unemployment rate is a facade as the pandemic recedes from the headlines, resulting in more than 5 million people disappearing from the labor force. The number of people not in the labor force continued to decline before the lockdowns in early 2020, but has since picked up and is above June 2020 levels.

Bringing missing workers back into the labor force keeps the unemployment rate above 6%. While not brutal, that percentage is common during the recession and shows that Americans aren't doing well.

Nevertheless, Mr. on the economy. The best explanation for Biden's poor poll numbers is who is getting these millions of new jobs. It turns out they weren't native-born Americans.

Although last month's jobs data drew hyperbolic words like „blowout,” a fair word for many Americans is depressing. Not only was native-born employment 5.5 million below its pre-pandemic trend, it was 121,000 below its pre-pandemic level, or 0.1%.

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Conversely, foreign-born employment was 2.8 million above its pre-pandemic level, or 10.3%, returning to its pre-pandemic trend last year. All job gains since the beginning of 2020 have gone to the foreign-born, while native-born Americans have actually lost net jobs.

Even the BLS admits that its statistics reflect at least some illegal aliens working in the United States. With millions of illegal aliens flocking to the southern border due to Biden administration policies, this will help increase the legalization and employment numbers of foreign-born workers.

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The fact that native-born Americans have seen no improvement in job numbers over four years is a major reason why they view the economy so poorly, but it's not the only one. According to BLS estimates, their inflation-adjusted weekly earnings of Mr. Under Biden it fell another 4.2%.

The reality is even worse, because the BLS grossly understates many inflationary factors, such as the cost of home ownership. Using rental data, the BLS estimates that it has risen less than 20% over the past three years.

By contrast, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, using real-world housing data, found the cost of homeownership rose 76.5% over the same period, or four times the official BLS metric.

It's surprisingly easy to categorize the circle of good economic headlines and bad economic polls: the benefits of „bidenomics” go to the few, and Americans as a whole come in last.

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