The Trump Slump begins

The US dollar has lost real value, as this chart shows, but the overall economy is in for a more severe beating.

As our dollar is taking a plunge compared to foreign currencies, the US economy lost jobs for first time in seven years as non-farm payrolls declined by 33,000 in September, against expectations of 90,000 new jobs.

Well before the end of his first 100 days in the Oval Office, counting the 25 days he spent at Mar-a-Lago, I predicted the celebrity president would usher in a depression that eventually will be known as the Trump Slump. This may be the start of it.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggested that the shock fall in jobs in September, the first monthly decline since 2010, was mainly due to major disruption from hurricanes, but others say Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency is damaging the U.S. economy.

“A sharp employment decline in food services and drinking places and below-trend growth in some other industries likely reflected the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey,” said a statement from BLS. “Our analysis suggests that the net effect of these hurricanes was to reduce the estimate of total nonfarm payroll employment for September.”

Voice of the People by James J. DevineTo support that assessment, the agency said the unemployment rate declined to 4.2 percent, down from 4.4 percent reported for the previous month, but employment in food services and drinking places dropped by 105,000 jobs in September.

Manufacturing shed 1,000 jobs in September, compared with November 2016 through August 2017, when the industry had added an average of 14,000 jobs per month.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged
in September at 1.7 million and accounted for 25.5 percent of the unemployed.

The number of involuntary part-time workers, or individuals who would prefer full-time employment and were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find other jobs,was little changed at 5.1 million in September.

In September, 1.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, down by 275,000 from
a year earlier.

These individuals were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey, although they wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. 

Among the marginally attached, there were 421,000 discouraged workers in September, down by 132,000 from a year earlier.

Discouraged workers are people not currently looking for employment because they believe no jobs are available for them.

The remaining 1.1 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in September had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities.

Benjamin P. Edwards, a professor at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, and Sarah C. Haan, a professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law, authored a report published in US News & World Report that outlined a number of ways Trump’s policies and pronouncements injured American economic prospects.


They said, “Contrary to Trump’s belief, controversy-generating reality television strategies do not generate good governance and growth.”

The U.S. dollar gained more than 5 percent to hit its highest level in 13 years following President Trump’s electoral victory but slumped to a seven-month low against other currencies on June 6, 2017, wiping away the last of its post-election gains.

“The generally disorganized nature of the Trump administration has made investors less confident of a big fiscal stimulus being passed any time soon,” said Andrew Hunter of Capital Economics.

The U.S. Dollar Index, which measures the value of U.S. currency against six major rivals, was down to 93.809 Friday, after hitting a high of 103 in December. A look at historical data showing the U.S. dollar index published by the Federal Reserve vividly shows that American currency is stronger than those of our European, Asian and South American trading partners when Democrats occupy the White House.

Naturally, Trump’s effort to slash taxes on the wealthy will shift more and more costs to working people and increase the already unsustainable federal debt. His erratic behavior will impede business investment, if it does not provoke a nuclear war. And the wholesale attack on health care, which comprises 1/6 of the US economy, and the environment are certain to erode confidence if these actions do not induce financial earthquakes.

Guam’s tourism industry lost $9.5 million in one month after North Korea threatened to use it for nuclear target practice.  Trump’s illegal travel ban demonizes the Muslim population,which controls about $11.5 trillion in wealth. As massive deficits inflate the national debt beyond its current $20 trillion level, Trump is virtually inviting stock markets to crash.

Apart from policies that predictably have harmful economic impacts, the GOP is likely to scare away money by going in two different directions at once.

Republicans in Congress stripped virtually all of the “Buy American” provisions from the Water Resources Development Act despite the fact that their current party leader, Donald Trump, campaigned for President on an anti-trade, buy American platform.

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