Show Hide image

US unemployment stagnates at 8.2 per cent

80,000 new jobs for June

The Bureau of Labour released their June Employment Report this morning showing little sign of any improvement from the 8.2% unemployment rate throughout the United States.

Hopes were high in anticipation of the report, but the report revealed that only 80,000 net jobs have been made in the last month. This is not enough to keep up with the growth of the working population.

The service sector has been highly criticised, as employment figures in this sector have fallen by 10,000, whilst the manufacturing industry has been praised for its improvement, with 11,000 jobs created this month.

Local government teaching felt a particularly high loss, with a reduction of 100,000 jobs to 7.8 million jobs since last year’s report.

The weak trajectory of total job growth presented in the report is particularly worrying, with only 3,000 jobs created throughout America since May. Although there is some positive growth, these changes are insignificant. It is said that for any considerable change to be made to the market and by extension the country, a job boom is needed, and this report shows no evidence for one in the foreseeable future.

Total changes in employment, demographics and working hours are negligible. The racial demographics of the unemployed remain unchanged, with little change in figures for unemployed teenagers or part-time workers seeking full-time employment.

The news resulted in a dramatic fall in the American stock market as soon as the report was released, which has done nothing to help the situation. With this information comes a hope that Congress will make significant attempts to improve the economy in the short term, however with the Presidential and congressional elections dominating the minds of legislators, this seems unlikely.

The jobless, investors and traders alike are turning to the Federal Reserve; in light of such weak progress it is believed the Fed will be forced to take action.

Getty Images.
Show Hide image

Is anyone prepared to solve the NHS funding crisis?

As long as the political taboo on raising taxes endures, the service will be in financial peril. 

It has long been clear that the NHS is in financial ill-health. But today's figures, conveniently delayed until after the Conservative conference, are still stunningly bad. The service ran a deficit of £930m between April and June (greater than the £820m recorded for the whole of the 2014/15 financial year) and is on course for a shortfall of at least £2bn this year - its worst position for a generation. 

Though often described as having been shielded from austerity, owing to its ring-fenced budget, the NHS is enduring the toughest spending settlement in its history. Since 1950, health spending has grown at an average annual rate of 4 per cent, but over the last parliament it rose by just 0.5 per cent. An ageing population, rising treatment costs and the social care crisis all mean that the NHS has to run merely to stand still. The Tories have pledged to provide £10bn more for the service but this still leaves £20bn of efficiency savings required. 

Speculation is now turning to whether George Osborne will provide an emergency injection of funds in the Autumn Statement on 25 November. But the long-term question is whether anyone is prepared to offer a sustainable solution to the crisis. Health experts argue that only a rise in general taxation (income tax, VAT, national insurance), patient charges or a hypothecated "health tax" will secure the future of a universal, high-quality service. But the political taboo against increasing taxes on all but the richest means no politician has ventured into this territory. Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander has today called for the government to "find money urgently to get through the coming winter months". But the bigger question is whether, under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour is prepared to go beyond sticking-plaster solutions. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.