Jobs, jobs, jobs…

Friday’s disappointing jobs report – the much-anticipated final one before the general election – highlighted a question that was central at Tuesday’s debate: Just what kind of economic recovery are we enjoying right now? The report was worse in some places than others – private-sector job growth actually slightly beat expectations, while government employment was especially weak and participation in the labor force declined – but the underwhelming overall pace of employment growth that suggests the recovery is going to be a longer slog…

…the averages obscure the variation among the population. It’s not just millionaires and billionaires who are doing okay, but also the merely affluent: Higher-paid workers in the top quartile of the income distribution have already more than recovered their job losses from the peak of the crisis, while employment remains severely depressed among low-wage workers. Even here, the effects are uneven — some high-wage workers like pilots have experienced extensive job loss, while supermarket employment is elevated — but the broad story is one of worse effects at the lower end of the income scale.

“Job losses are being overwhelmingly borne by three overlapping groups: Young people and to a slightly lesser extent older people, so the bookends of the age distribution; lower-educated people; and low-wage workers…”

But, hey, our heroes in the two mediocre political parties that hold sway over media, finance, economics, education…and jobs…are convinced they’re the best choices to do the job of keeping the economy rolling.

Or, at least, the stock market.