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WASHINGTON--You may be hearing that the economy is in better shape for November because job growth was higher than expected (284,000 jobs were added with 200,000 expected). University of Indianapolis Economics Prof. Dr. Matt Will says the interpretation of that report as positive is misleading.

“Thirty thousand jobs lost in retail. that’s the only relevant piece of information in this report,” said Will, a guest on WIBC’s Tony Katz Today. He pointed out that the country is still 6,000,000 jobs short.

He said recent layoffs are an indicator that all is not well, though the unemployment rate remains at 3.7 percent.

The labor force participation rate is at 62.1 percent, which is 1.3 percent below where it was when the pandemic began in February 2020. Will said that 1.3 percent is a lot of people in a country with a population of over 360,000,000.

“That rate should be much higher. People are living off their savings. They’re living off those COVID dollars, and if you live in California, they’re still paying you not to work,” said Will. “That number is bad. The White House and the states drive that number and they’re paying you not to go to work when we’re 6,000,000 jobs short.”

Wages rose in November just over a half a percent. Will said that is also not a great accomplishment.

“We have 6,000,000 jobs missing in this economy and that’s pulling up wages. We still have a labor shortage. That’s all there is to it,” he said. “If there is a job out there they still have to pay more to hire or keep that person.”

He said that even though the jobs report seems to indicate some improvement in the economy overall, he believes the report, or at least the positive interpretation of it, should be ignored, and that inflation, the labor shortage and spending habits are the true indicators.

“People are spending money on credit cards and from the savings from their COVID money. So, people are racking up record amounts of credit right now, debt.”