WASHINGTON—On Friday, the U.S. Department of Labor released employment numbers for July that look good from a distance, but under the surface, they show that millions of Americans are in dire economic straits, giving Donald Trump an opening to bring in voters who normally vote for Democrats.
The Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy added 255,000 jobs in July, beating analysts’ forecast of 147,000 jobs, and growing at a pace that would usually be sufficient to sustain economic growth. (The economy must average 200,000 new jobs per month to keep pace with U.S. population growth.) The official national unemployment rate held steady at 4.9 percent from June, having risen from 4.7 percent in May.
But the monthly jobs report from the department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics includes alarming numbers when examined closely, revealing that the functional statistics are far worse, and shows a two-track economy leaving millions of Americans behind.
The unemployment rate does not include millions of Americans who have stopped looking for work. The labor participation rate—which is the true measure of employment among all working-age Americans—is still at the worst level since the 1970s, at 62.8 percent. As a consequence, the “real” unemployment rate is 9.7 percent, a level typically seen during recessions.
Even under the slanted numbers of the official job report, the economy is on two separate tracks. Of the 255,000 new jobs, more than 70,000 were for educated white-collar professionals. Health care saw an increase of 43,000 jobs, gains that are fragile because of the slow implosion of Obamacare.
Moreover, 97,000 of July’s new jobs are only part-time, leaving 6 million Americans who want full-time employment instead having to settle for jobs that count as “employment,” but do not lead to economic independence or wealth creation.
And worse of all, the number of long-term unemployed—including those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more—is increasing.
These numbers, therefore, show an economy that is increasingly bad for blue-collar and working-income Americans. These are the frustrated masses eager for a resurgence in manufacturing jobs, making them receptive to Donald Trump’s plan to reinvigorate American jobs.
Coupled with Hillary Clinton’s assault on coal miners, oil and gas workers, and steel workers, along with Trump’s pledge to protect all three, this showcases an opportunity for the business mogul to switch millions of voters in Rust Belt and Midwestern states like Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania from Democrat to Republican, turning blue states red—and potentially catapulting Trump into the White House.
Ken Klukowski is senior legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.