The walking jobless

Employment | September 8, 2010 at 12:41 am




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There is a great depression hanging in the air like the sword of Damocles, and it is one that cuts sharp for those that are among the teeming unemployed of America. The bad news however is that this is set to worsen. The Labor department was the harbinger of bad news when they announced, quite somberly, that only 67,000 jobs had been created in the month of August. If you think that’s bad, compare that to the July figures of 107,000 before making a judgment. A large part of that had to do with the fact that the government laid off temporary Census workers during this period, and on the whole the economy lost some 54,000 jobs. On average, there is a need for some 125,000 new jobs created per month in order to keep pace with the population growth rate and the potential workforce that keeps on looking for jobs each month.

jobless in USAIt’s a case then of contracting demand on the part of employers having to turn away a surfeit of supply on the part of job seekers. The number of job seekers has grown constantly each year since the advent of 2008. In the wake of the great recession of our times, some 22 million Americans are now out of a job, and that’s before you even begin to figure in the 3 million people working part-time that would rather want a full-time job. That totals up to a quarter of a hundred million people that are either unemployed or not fully employed. This ends up creating a snowball effect on the economy that is negative as multipliers go. Families haven’t got the money to pay their bills or mortgages, they end up being chased by lenders and their bills continue to be unresolved. Nobody spends anything more than on what they need as essentials and the economy slows down on the whole. Sounds familiar? Well, it should. All of that means businesses can’t justify adding on workers and instead lays off workers, leading us to our core topic of unemployment.

The last big recession was seen in the 1930’s and that period needed a series of giant corrective measures that stretched through the 1930’s and 1940’s to reverse a worrying trend not entirely dissimilar to the current one. The ideas are there, and history has given us the template to work through things, it’s just that there seems to be a lack of political willpower to pull through and get the job done. The administrative system is like a deer in the headlights, paralysed by the enormity of the situation on hand. The time for bold action is here and now, not for demagoguery and passing the buck because if we don’t do anything this situation will get far worse in the years to come.

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1 Comment

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