Donald Trump Inherits a Jobs Market That’s Healthy but Shows Signs of Trouble.

Donald Trump and Vice President-elect Mike Pence talk with factory workers during a visit to the Carrier factory on Thursday.

This morning’s monthly jobs report showed the unemployment rate hitting 4.6%, the lowest level in nine years. While there’s still a month and a half before President-elect Donald J. Trump takes office, this morning’s report gives a pretty good idea of the job market that the new administration will inherit.

Inherited UnemploymentUnemployment rates in November of years in which a new president was electedTHE WALL STREET JOURNALSource: Labor Department

The 4.6% unemployment rate will be one of the lowest that a new president has inherited upon taking office. Unemployment was at 6.8% and climbing when President Barack Obama took office. It was at 7.5% and climbing when President Ronald Reagan took office. And President Jimmy Carter had it worst of all, taking office amid 7.8% unemployment.

Of course, the unemployment rate hardly tells the entire story about the U.S. labor market. A large number of Americans are neither working, nor looking for work. They are considered to be outside of the labor force.

Outside the Labor ForcePercentage of people age 25-54 who are neither working nor looking for work inNovember of years a new president was electedTHE WALL STREET JOURNALSource: Labor Department

Looking only at 25-54-year-olds (the ages during which neither school nor retirement explain why someone might not be working or looking for work) shows two distinct patterns.

First, a small but ever growing minority of 25-54-year-old men are no longer in the labor force. In the 1960s, just 2.7% of men that age were outside the labor force. As of November, it’s 11.5%.

Second, from the 1960s to late 1990s, 25-54-year-old women became less and less likely to be outside the labor force (this is primarily driven by a decline of stay-at-home mothers, as more women took jobs). But in the last 15 years, the share of women outside the labor force has been growing too. It’s now up to 25.3% from 23.2% in November of 2000 just before George W. Bush took office.

Inherited Job GrowthJob growth in the 12 months through November in years a new president was electedTHE WALL STREET JOURNALSource: Labor Department
.millionKennedy,1960Nixon,1968Carter,1976Reagan,1980Bush,1988Clinton,1992Bush,2000Obama,2008Trump,2016-4-3-2-101234Clinton, 1992×0.985 million

Jobs have been growing at a healthy clip over the past year. This can make things quite a bit easier in a president’s first year in office as a growing workforce means a growing tax base.

Job GrowthTwelve-month change in total number of nonfarm payroll jobsTHE WALL STREET JOURNALSource: Labor Department

Though 2.3 million jobs a year is a fairly high level, the pace has been slowing down somewhat over the past two years. If that deceleration continues, job growth could turn from a tailwind to a headwind fairly quickly.

Inherited Earnings GrowthWeekly earnings growth in the 12 months through November in years a new presidentwas electedTHE WALL STREET JOURNALSource: Labor DepartmentNote: Weekly earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees
Nixon, 1968Carter, 1976Reagan,1980Bush, 1988Clinton,1992Bush, 2000Obama,2008Trump,20160246810

Another area where the labor market is far from firing on all cylinders is earnings growth. Average weekly earnings grew just 2.1% over the past 12 months, and that’s the lowest figure on record for any November in which a new president was elected (this data is not available for President John F. Kennedy or earlier).

Earnings and InflationAnnual growth in weekly earnings compared to the inflation rateTHE WALL STREET JOURNALSource: Labor Department
%RecessionWage growthInflation rate1965’70’75’80’85’90’952000’05’10’15-505101520

High inflation contributed to some of the faster wage growth figures in the past, while in recent decades the inflation rate has been low. Still, it’s safe to say that scant raises helped contribute to the economic frustration that many Americans feel.

In sum, the president-elect is inheriting a mixed picture: low unemployment and respectable job growth, but also low wages and a disconcerting increase in people outside of the labor force. Of course, presidents are ultimately judged little by the economy inherit, and more about where it goes under their watch.

What can Russia expect from ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis?

What can Russia expect from ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis?. 59375.jpeg

US President-elect Donald Trump has picked retired Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis as the new Secretary of Defense. The 66-year-old general is known as an ardent opponent of Putin and a friend of Ukraine. “General James “Mad Dog” Mattis considers Russia as a “predatory” state.

What can Russia expect from the new Pentagon chief? Pravda.Ru asked this question to leading expert at the Center for Military and Political Studies at MGIMO, Doctor of Political Science, Mikhail Alexandrov.

“The Obama administration made the Pentagon a bad cop in Syria. It was said that the Pentagon conducts its own policy and even makes mistakes in Syria, like, for example, during the bombings of Deir al-Zor. What can one expect from the new chief of the US Defense Department?”

“I do not think that the Pentagon was playing a bad cop during Obama’s presidency. The Obama administration was conducting a coordinated policy to support international terrorist groups in Syria and Iraq. Therefore, all these supposedly incidental events appear as a targeted program of the Obama administration. Those events include the abandonment of warehouses with ammunition for ISIL militants during the rapid retreat of the Iraqi army, parachuting military cargo for terrorists, supposedly by mistake, training of terrorists by US instructors, who then also took the side of the terrorists. Attacks on the Syrian army are also part of one and the same story here. The goal of this policy was to break the Shiite axis of Iran, Syria and Iraq. The Americans were moving towards their goal, but then Russia interfered to stop them.

“Judging from Donald Trump’s pre-election statements, one shall assume that he is not committed to supporting international terrorism. The new US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, aka the “Mad Dog”, had taken part in military campaigns. He is a man who was customized for the anti-terrorist struggle. Maybe, the US will take a serious approach to the struggle against terrorism. Yet, we should bear in mind the fact that the “Mad Dog” does not sympathize with Russia, as far as I know. At the same time, any military man needs to firmly stand for his beliefs. It would be strange, if he had a soft position.

“Ideally, Russia and the USA could come to an agreement on a joint ground operation in Syria. The Americans could advance from Iraq, two or three divisions, whereas Russia could advance in Syria to meet in the area in of the Syrian-Iraqi border. The operation would not take a lot of time, and the terrorists would be destroyed with minimum losses on both the American and the Russian side. The terrorists would thus be crammed and destroyed and then we would meet on the new Elbe in the form of the Euphrates. Of course, this is just a dream, we do not know what Trump will do in practice, but we should constantly remind him of our readiness to cooperate for the sake of peace in the Middle East.”


– See more at:

Donald Trump risks China rift with Taiwan call.

Donald Trump risks opening up a major diplomatic dispute with China before he has even been inaugurated after speaking on the telephone on Friday with Tsai Ing-wen, the president of Taiwan.

The call is believed to be the first between a US president or president-elect and a leader of Taiwan since diplomatic relations between Washington and the island were cut in 1979.

Although it is not clear if the Trump transition team intended the conversation to signal a broader change in US policy towards Taiwan, the call is likely to infuriate Beijing which regards the island as a renegade province.

The US has adopted the so-called One China policy since 1972 after the Nixon-Mao meetings and in 1978 President Jimmy Carter formally recognised Beijing as the sole government of China, with the US embassy closing in the capital Taipei the year after.

The Trump team did not initially respond to multiple requests for comment but, after the Financial Times first published news of the call, confirmed that the president-elect had spoken with Ms Tsai and “noted the close economic, political, and security ties” between Taiwan and the United States.

A US official said that the Trump transition team did not inform the Obama administration in advance of the conversation.

Following a deluge of criticism over his move to talk to the Taiwanese president, Mr Trump tweeted: “The President of Taiwan CALLED ME today to wish me congratulations on winning the Presidency. Thank you!”

Interesting how the US sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call

Trump tweet

Mr Trump also suggested it was hypocritical for Washington to provide Taipei with weapons but prevent the US and Taiwanese leaders from communicating. The US is legally obliged to help Taiwan defend itself in the event of war with China, but the avoidance of communication between the leaders is due to the “One China” policy.

“Interesting how the US sells Taiwan billions of dollars of military equipment but I should not accept a congratulatory call,” Mr Trump tweeted.

Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on Saturday dismissed the phone call as a “petty action” on Taiwan’s part.

“It is impossible to change the one-China situation that the international community has formed,” he said. “I also do not think it will change the one-China policy on which the US government has insisted over the years. The one-China principle is the solid foundation of the healthy development of Sino-US relations, and we do not want any interference or damage to this political foundation.”

Ms Tsai’s office said that apart from congratulating Mr Trump on his election victory, the Taiwanese president had shared her ideas on matters including the domestic economy and national defence.

“The two briefly exchanged views on affairs in Asia.” it said in a statement. “President Tsai hopes to step up bilateral interactions and connections and to establish closer co-operative relations.”

In a Friday meeting with Henry Kissinger in Beijing before Mr Trump spoke to Ms Tsai, China’s President Xi Jinping said that Sino-US relations stood at a critical juncture.

“We are watching the situation very closely,” he told Mr Kissinger, who masterminded the Sino-US detente as President Richard Nixon’s secretary of state. “Now is a period of transition.”

Shi Yinhong, an international relations professor at Renmin University in Beijing, said Mr Trump was sending a “very clear” message. “The US president-elect hates China and will encourage Tsai to resist pressure from the mainland,” he said.

Evan Medeiros, a former Asia director at the White House national security council who now heads Asia research at Eurasia Group, said “the Chinese leadership will see this as a highly provocative action, of historic proportions”.

“Regardless if it was deliberate or accidental, this phone call will fundamentally change China’s perceptions of Trump’s strategic intentions for the negative,” he added. “With this kind of move, Trump is setting a foundation of enduring mistrust and strategic competition for US-China relations.”

Douglas Paal, who as head of the American Institute in Taiwan from 2002 to 2006 was the de facto US ambassador, said that he was not aware of any such telephone calls between US and Taiwanese presidents since 1979.

He said that the call was probably designed to quash speculation in Taipei that a Trump administration would make further concessions on the status of Taiwan to China as it attempts to redefine US relations with Beijing.

“There is no indication so far that a Trump administration would change US policy towards Taiwan,” said Mr Paal, who also held senior positions in the Reagan and George HW Bush White Houses.

Ned Price, the White House National Security Council spokesman, said on Friday evening there was “no change to our longstanding policy on cross-Strait issues”.

“We remain firmly committed to our ‘one China’ policy based on the three Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act,” said Mr Price. “Our fundamental interest is in peaceful and stable cross-Strait relations.”

Dennis Wilder, former top White House Asia adviser during the George W Bush administration, said: “It would be a mistake for Beijing and others to over-interpret the meaning of a phone call between president-elect Trump and the president of Taiwan.”

The Chinese leadership will see this as a highly provocative action, of historic proportions

Evan Medeiros, ex-Asia director at White House national security council

He said that Mr Trump was “not steeped in the diplomatic history of US-China relations and probably has not been briefed by the Department of State on the US-China understandings on our unofficial ties to Taiwan.” He added: “We are in uncharted territory with Trump foreign policy, and nations should give him some latitude as he forms his foreign policy team.”

The call with Ms Tsai is not the first controversy that Mr Trump has courted with his conversations with world leaders since the election.

The Philippines government said on Friday that Mr Trump had invited the country’s president, Rodrigo Duterte, to visit the White House next year during a call between the two men.

Since taking office earlier this year, Mr Duterte has threatened to tear up major parts of the military alliance with the US, and a meeting with Barack Obama at a summit earlier this year was cancelled after he called the American president a “son of a whore”. The Trump transition team confirmed the call on Friday evening but made no mention of an invitation to Washington.

In a readout provided by the Pakistani government of a call between Mr Trump and prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the president-elect called the country “amazing” and “fantastic” and appeared to suggest that he might visit Pakistan, remarks which caused consternation in some quarters in India.

The state department said that it had not helped organise the Philippines or Pakistan calls and had not provided any advice ahead of the conversations.

Additional reporting by Tom Mitchell, Sherry Fei Ju and Archie Zhang in Beijing

Twitter: @dimi

Alcune idee per leggere Siena.

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di Pierluigi Piccini

L’articolo “rompere il blocco conservatore per liberare energie” pubblicato dalla Nazione il 30 novembre merita qualche precisazione. Frutto delle idee che mi sono fatto per leggere alcune dinamiche sociali di Siena. Mie idee, pronto a confrontarle e cambiarle se del caso. Partiamo da una situazione passata e dall’inurbamento che la città ha avuto nel dopoguerra. Un partito comunista fortissimo che prende in mano le redini dello sviluppo di Siena e della provincia legittimato dalle lotte vittoriose che aveva affrontato. Un partito di provenienza prevalentemente contadina, altro non poteva essere, caratterizzatosi per la forte presenza mezzadrile (Detti). Il gruppo dirigente del partito comunista ha sempre risentito di questa forte matrice di provenienza con alcune rare, ma significative eccezioni. Questi gruppi dirigenti si trovano a gestire la città capoluogo; città con caratteristiche particolari che intelligentemente non pretendono di dominare in modo esclusivo scendendo a patti con la struttura sociale e di classe che trovano a Siena. Patti chiari che permettono uno sviluppo lento, ma costante. La guidano, lasciando ad altri la rappresentanza formale del governo cittadino, soltanto il PSI si inserirà, molti anni dopo in questo patto, blocco, rivendicando, lui, la guida della città e delle istituzioni più importanti. Ma facciamo un passo indietro: qual’è la struttura sociale di Siena: pochissime fabbriche, quasi nessuna aristocrazia, tanta borghesia, significativi ceti medi e una presenza popolare forte. Era naturale che il PCI si radicasse con queste due ultime componenti e avviasse un accordo con la borghesia cittadina. Una borghesia poco o per nulla dinamica che si appoggia per convenienza sulla forza egemonica del movimento comunista. Questo blocco di potere ha funzionato per molto tempo, almeno fintantoché tutti erano consapevoli della partita in corso, con i grandi partiti di massa che svolgevano la funzione di equilibratori e di stanza di compensazione. Potrei citare tantissimi nomi che non faccio per il rischio di dimenticarne qualcuno e ciò sarebbe grave e ingiusto. La borghesia rimane al “guinzaglio” portatrice, però, quest’ultima, di istanze conservatrici che condizionano in parte, anche, il partito di maggioranza cittadina. Il blocco sociale che si va realizzando sarà alimentato nel tempo dalle rendite parassitarie che provengono dalla finanza, sempre più consistenti, da quelle di posizione e da settori di evasione fiscale. Una borghesia che tenterà in continuazione di emanciparsi dal controllo a cui era stata sottoposta, ci proverà in maniera consistente nel 1997, ma sarà sconfitta da un ultimo e definitivo sussulto popolare, gestito, quest’ultimo da quei dirigenti del PDS che avevano chiaro quale fosse la partita in gioco e chi dovesse essere la locomotiva del treno. Parliamo, comunque, di una borghesia legata, anche, a qualche “importante” famiglia senese che solo apparentemente manifesta di essere progressista, lo fa di comodo e usa la politica per ottenere favori, esenzioni, posizioni di rendita, informazioni riservate, incarichi. E lentamente, ma progressivamente, in un recente passato, si emancipa dal condizionamento, grazie anche ad alcuni personaggi di partito e a poco, a poco rovescia quel patto che era stato stipulato a proprio vantaggio. Lo sganciamento avviene per diversi motivi: progressivo fallimento dei partiti e costante arretramento della politica, aumento considerevole della ricchezza determinata in modo prevalente dalle rendite finanziarie e di posizione, complessità nel governo che richiede sempre maggiore specializzazione, giovani dirigenti dei Ds e del Pd che perdono la consapevolezza della partita in gioco e che cercano la legittimazione per governare, delega di quest’ultimi a soggetti esterni ai partiti e alle istituzioni fuori, anche, dall’ambito locale, affievolimento della presenza popolare (ideologizzazione della senesità) e dei ceti medi, ecc. Il tutto, però, si regge, ancora, per gli enormi mezzi che Siena possiede e che vengono utilizzati per narcotizzare la realtà politica, sociale ed economica della città e del territorio della provincia. Siena in questo modo esce dalla contemporaneità cosa che non era mai accaduto precedentemente, era stata, paradossalmente nel suo passato, fortemente moderna, anticipatrice, in sintonia con i tempi grazie proprio a quei dirigenti, non solo di sinistra, che avevano governato la cosa pubblica o che erano stati presenti nella scena politica. Nella logica del consenso economico tutti partecipano, tutti quei soggetti che continuano a far governare una compagine (Pd) sempre più debole, incapace, ma che assicura loro la sopravvivenza e la “fortuna” personale. Ma gli incapaci rompono il giocattolo, lo scambio non può più essere assicurato e iniziano i guai. Ma i guai per chi? Per gli anelli più deboli. In primo luogo per i ceti medi, il fiore all’occhiello delle politiche economiche, prima comuniste in Toscana e nel centro Italia, poi dei progressisti con le varie sigle che li hanno sostituiti. Ceti medi che sono in difficoltà in generale, ma che a Siena hanno subito qualcosa in più. Sono delusi dal Partito Democratico, sono senza punti di riferimento e in più fortemente impoveriti. Si sono indeboliti soprattutto a causa della crisi del Monte, quanto hanno pesato i vari aumenti di capitale sui risparmi dei piccoli, medi azionisti della Banca? Molti di questi sono senesi. Ceti medi in confusione e in cerca di protezione. Oggi in fase di borbottio che trovano ascolto in forze politiche incapaci di un vero e proprio progetto organico di risposta e di sviluppo, capaci, quest’ultimi, di dare le colpe, ma non di proporre un piano di rilancio per il futuro; di trovare, finalmente, reddito da lavoro che può di nuovo farli sperare e vivere. Nella stessa situazione si trovano quei ceti popolari che vedono la loro esistenza sempre più precaria e difficile e guardano con grande preoccupazione al lavoro per i propri figli. Tiriamo le somme! Chi si salva da questa situazione? Si salvano proprio quei soggetti che hanno avuto sempre dei privilegi e che continuano ad averli, quelli che ho chiamato, nell’articolo sopra menzionato, la borghesia parassitaria. Sono costretto a dirlo: cos’è questa se non una nuova contrapposizione di classe? Per alcuni figli andare all’estero a studiare non è un problema, per altri è impossibile. Mi dite, per favore, qual’è oggi la funzione di chi governa a Siena? È una questione giudiziaria o un vero e proprio problema economico e sociale? Dovrei essere interessato ai vari processi di chi ha ridotto la realtà in questo modo, da condannare senza esitazione, o a come si può fare per ripartire? La missione, a mio parere, è combattere il blocco conservatore e le nuove rendite di posizione, che si sono create a causa degli errori, della debolezza, dell’incapacità a comprendere le reali contraddizioni, delle complicità dell’attuale Pd senese. Gli interlocutori in prima istanza non possono che essere quei soggetti che si rifanno a questo partito auto definitosi “progressista”, e in seconda battuta alla società senese nel suo insieme. Per ripartire è necessario che le parti della borghesia più innovativa che non ha paura del confronto, senta la necessità di contribuire ad una nuova e vera innovazione di sistema insieme a quei ceti medi, oggi confusi e impoveriti, che vogliono il cambiamento: riproporre un patto di progresso, un sano accordo per lo sviluppo. Quando una collettività vuole il suo futuro non c’è nulla che la possa tenere.


n.b., avrei voluto mettere altre foto come, ad esempio, quelle di Erias Belardi o Mario Barellini, ma è difficile trovarle.