- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 13, 2004

Republicans are celebrating 337,000 new jobs created in October, but a look behind the numbers shows the same discouraging trend of the past four years.

The U.S. economy can only create jobs in government and in domestic services that cannot be outsourced or replaced by imports.

Government employment accounts for 41,000 of the new jobs. The private economy produced 296,000 jobs in October. Of these jobs, 71,000 are in construction; 36,000 are in wholesale trade, retail trade, transportation and warehousing; credit services account for 17,000 jobs; employment services (primarily temporary help) account for 55,000 jobs; school administrators, teachers, health care and social assistance account for 62,000 jobs; bars and restaurants 20,000 jobs.

These are not “new economy” jobs, and they are not “old economy” manufacturing jobs. Today the U.S. economy has 2.7 million fewer manufacturing jobs and 1.26 million fewer private sector jobs than when George W. Bush was inaugurated. The only areas of job growth are in government, restaurant and bar servers, education and health services, construction and credit intermediation. Gains in these areas have been more than offset by losses elsewhere.

During October, U.S. manufacturing lost another 5,000 jobs. Charles W. McMillion, president of MBG Information Services, reports that hours worked for nonmanagerial manufacturing workers have declined 7.6 percent since the current recovery began — an unprecedented development. “Never before,” writes Mr. McMillion, “has a recovery failed to increase the number of hours worked in manufacturing.”

America’s growing dependence on imported manufacturing goods and knowledge services means a swelling trade deficit that cannot be brought into balance by selling more abroad.

No one knows how much longer the dollar can stand the strain of heavy foreign borrowing. The Bush administration policy is to ignore the problem until the dollar collapses — when it will be too late to avoid dumping as the world abandons the dollar as the reserve currency. That time will be very unpleasant — particularly if the United States is overextended in empire-building adventures abroad.

The administration’s alliance-shattering policy has left America in a weak position to call on allies to support a wounded dollar.

Americans need to wake up and to realize their country’s superpower status is imperiled.

Paul Craig Roberts is a nationally syndicated columnist.

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