Depressing Unemployment Numbers Today Exacerbated by Crushing Regulations, Obama Labor Union Agenda

Washington, DC, June 3, 2011 – Bad news for the American economy and the Obama administration comes today in the form of paltry job growth figures for May. U.S. nonfarm payrolls added just 54,000 jobs in May, far less than what economists predicted and far below April’s gain of 232,000.  Meanwhile, unemployment went up, not down: 9.1%, from 9% a month ago.  (See Forbes story.)

CEI policy experts blamed the crushing federal regulatory burden and job-killing, pro-union agenda for much of the economy’s woes.

Statement by Iain Murray, Director of CEI’s Center for Economic Freedom

Today’s weaker than expected employment numbers show that the President’s agenda of more regulation and increased spending has failed.”

Murray pointed to the massive federal regulatory burden as a major contributor to the economic woes. 

“Entrepreneurs will not add jobs to the economy while the burden of regulation remains so high,” he said. “Regulations cost the economy $1.75 trillion each year. Burdensome regulation is dragging us back into recession.

“The President should prompt his cabinet members and agency heads to move on his call for deregulatory efforts. But that is just a start.

“The President should also rein in his out-of-control labor boards. The National Labor Relations Board is trying to stop a major firm from opening a new factory, while the National Mediation Board has tried to change organizing rules unilaterally. If the President is serious about getting Americans back to work, he will stop putting barriers in the way of employers right now.

Statement by John Berlau, Director of CEI’s Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs

The Obama administration’s meddling in the market has stifled entrepreneurship, investment, and job creation. Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley have made it extremely difficult for smaller companies to raise capital. Provisions of Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley by themselves are estimated to cost the economy as much as $1 trillion in direct and indirect costs.  

Another reason why job creators are on the sidelines: the precedent set by the abrogation of investor contracts in the Chrysler bankruptcy, being touted today by President Obama, in which secured lenders with collateral received smaller equity stakes than unions and the foreign automaker Fiat.

Statement by Ivan Osorio, CEI Labor Policy Analyst

Having failed to pass pro-union legislation through Congress, the Obama administration is now pushing the union agenda through the regulatory process. For President Obama, that may represent his last chance to reward his union supporters. For American businesses struggling to recover, however, it only amounts to yet more regulatory uncertainty and added costs they can ill afford.

Statement by Vincent Vernuccio, CEI Labor Policy Council

The true unemployment level includes not just what is reported in the government’s numbers but also the vast number of discouraged workers, people whose unemployment payments have run out. Also, many people can find only part-time work, not the full time jobs they need.

> See also, Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State by Clyde Wayne Crews