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Where are the jobs?

Our Readers Who Comment are angry this morning about the news that corporate America is hoarding huge amounts of cash but hiring few. Many readers blame President Obama. Several cite the unknown long-term costs to business of health care reform as the primary reason. Others just see greed.

Business also has its defenders, who wonder why anyone would hire given what they see as uncertainties in the economy. Whatever may be the case, the story has struck a nerve and comments are piling up. Meanwhile, consumers are keeping their money in their pockets, as this story shows.

Jia Lynn Yang writes, " several major firms report impressive earnings this week, the money continues to flow into firms' coffers. Yet all the good news from big business hasn't translated into much promise for jobless Americans, leading many to wonder: If corporations are sitting on so much money, why aren't they hiring more workers?"

We'll start with michaelcharliedelta, who asked, "Why should corporate America hire when they are making so much money and with President Obama taking most of the heat? Business is doing great."

GreenMountainMan wrote, "Businesses won't do significant new hiring and individuals with extra money won't do any unnecessary spending as long as they think the Government is out to radically change how we live and how the economy works."

But rkerg offered, "So, lets do the math. At every recession, big business pleads for tax cuts and when the economy is good, big business rails against tax increases. The only way that this equation ends is with government not having any money to do anything, not even to give big business any more tax cuts. I think that if there was a freaking asteroid on a collision course with the earth, many large groups of big businesses would volunteer to save the planet as long as they could get some tax cuts first."

bobmoses said, "...I am holding off hiring because the cost of employees is going to skyrocket as this health care "reform" kicks in and the inevitable increase in taxation follows."

But skylark1 wrote, "Business wants to destroy Obama and punish workers for wanting living wages. By avoiding hiring, they are accomplishing both at the same time. It has nothing to do with "regulations", it's acting out of spite and power."

releggneh1 wrote, "Again we get fed BS from the great Messiah & his minions. What businesss, in their right mind would hire 1 more worker when they have no idea how much the health care take over will cost, or the cap & tax bill that they are trying to stuff down our throats or when the Bush tax breaks expire. Who in their right mind would move until they know what the money grubbing dems are going to do next???..."

opyKinetics opined that "It's because corporate America, cautious dirtbags that they are, is sitting on its hands. That's why the government has to spend to keep things going. The Chamber is a totally reactionary mess. After helping to tank the economy and sodomize consumers, all they can do is sit around and cry about "onerous" regulations. I say double down on these creeps."

zackool said, "I thought most jobs in the US were created by small companies, not big ones. This article is focusing only on the large, multi-national companies. While there is no question that the large companies are sitting on their hands a bit, it appears that small businesses are the ones who are not creating jobs. Would be nice if the Post explored this line of reasoning in this article."

aicohn wrote, "History repeats. This is the same thing that happened in the great depression. You can create all the liquidity in the world, but if your velocity is zero, your economy will be also. Fed is pushing on a string. There's no confidence in the future. And when you have a president & congress so utterly brain-dead they are raising taxes into a situation like that why should businesses or individuals have any confidence at all?..."

glenglish asked, "What the expletive are these companies thinking? As long as people don' t have jobs they won't have the cash to spend. People need jobs in order to spend money. The only good news is it ain't Obama that is messing with the economy it is the businesses."

MekhongKurt1 said, "I think this article clearly shows that increased cash alone is not going to cause companies to hire -- and that's the basis for the Republican call for lowering taxes on business. I also think there's something of a chicken-and-egg question here. People aren't going to start buying until companies start hiring -- but companies aren't going to start hiring until people start buying... But the way out of the logjam? -- I have no idea."

gjhinnova wrote, "This is no mystery. The downturn forced companies to lay off some workers. The companies now had a compelling reason to get rid of the marginal workers they didn't have the guts or a good enough excuse to let go previously. When the marginal performers were gone, the companies found out that they didn't miss them and things just went along fine without them. So why is it any surprise that the companies have not been in any hurry to rehire the people that weren't producing much all along?"

We'll close with this off-point exchange of the week:

jjjjjj1 wrote, "obama has already played more golf that President Bush played in eight years."

To which wilder5121 replied, "That may be true, since Bush spent half his Presidency "clearing brush" on his fake Texas rancho, not playing golf."

All comments on this article are here.

By Doug Feaver  |  July 15, 2010; 8:55 AM ET
Categories:  Unemployment  | Tags: Economy, Health Care, Jobs, Obama  
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Sooska is also right; Wall St loves a good head chopping spree. Whenever a company is growing head count it's nothing but a cost liability. Forget innovation from getting more people together or increasing services. It's all about leaving people unemployed with them.

Posted by: theobserver4 | July 15, 2010 3:58 PM | Report abuse

Can we finally bury the coffin of supply side economics? When push came to shove we're finding out that it was a great political argument to give rich people tax breaks and horrible in practice. The leaders of employment aren't going to wreck their business creating supply for 0 demand.

All the bubbles we had in the 90's and 2000's provided cover to this ultimate economic reality.

Posted by: theobserver4 | July 15, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

The administration and politics have nothing to do with it. People are so blindly loyal to their sheep-like talking points and ignorant of reality.

The corporations are doing what the banks, Wall Street AND investors want them to do, which is keep hiring down in order to keep profits up.
The markets go up significantly when jobs are lost, but then there is only small improvement when "jobs data" improves. (They want it both ways, but prefer losses and go up more upon higher job loss numbers than "job creation" numbers.)

Corporations and smaller business aren't going to hire full time employees in any great numbers ever again. This is especially true of global corporations owned by Europeans. They prefer to hire "consultants" or part timers for whom they do not have to pay benefits, sick time or vacations. These hires get less money per hour and don't even get unemployment insurance - they are entirely on their own and most don't make enough money to be able to afford it on their own when they have to try to find and pay for health insurance.

If hired independent of a temp agency the benefits are gone as well. Temp agencies are going to go by the board as well cause they aren't going to want to pay benefits that they pay after you have worked as a temp steadily for a year - the jobs are terminated or interrupted before the 1 year anniversary so the employee can't reap benefits such as sick time or paid time off.

It is a fact of globalization - Wall Street & world markets loves layoffs and the subsequent profits.

Full time hiring will never return in any great numbers.

Posted by: Sooska | July 15, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

But there's more. There is the tax and spend policy of this silly Obama Administration--we know that spending is out of control, and for those who have done the math, we cannot possibly raise enough taxes, even by taxing the wealthy 100% to pay for all the spending (yet Congress and Obama keep finding ways to spend more).

George Bush and Dick that want to bring back the previous administrations policies that brought this country too it's addition to start wars and give away tax cuts too the rich that's not paid for, thus could be added on to the national debt.....that sherlockholmes person must be one smart cookie to want more punishment brought upon this country.....all for the sake in having done the GOP way......what a shame.

Posted by: richdj25 | July 15, 2010 12:55 PM | Report abuse

Please, let's be serious. There is no bank lending, bank lending has fallen off a cliff in the past three months. There is no momentum in the economy, signs of consumer confidence (dropping) and spending (dropped again for the second consecutive month) portend even rougher times ahead. So why, pray tell, in this kind of economic environment, with no bank lending, no consumer confidence or spending, would some company be dumb enough to hire more people?

But there's more. There is the tax and spend policy of this silly Obama Administration--we know that spending is out of control, and for those who have done the math, we cannot possibly raise enough taxes, even by taxing the wealthy 100% to pay for all the spending (yet Congress and Obama keep finding ways to spend more). So given the fact that corporate taxes (not counting other taxes) are already some of the highest in the world, why would businesses hire? Then comes ObamaCare--already the tax bills for that gargantuan monstrosity are beginning to bite--and there is so much more red tape and hidden taxes, that businesses have no real idea of what this legislation will cost them--but they can bet that if they hire more people, it will cost them more.

Then there's this administration's attitude about business. Let's sue the hell out of BP, let's stomp on GM and Chrysler and give the companies to the unions, let's kick around the health insurance companies and the drug companies..sure, this is a great environment for businesses to hire more people. You bet.

Posted by: SherlockHolmes | July 15, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

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