Mar 7, 2011
The news media made a huge announcement about a big jump in jobs in February signaling an economic recovery. They played up the 192,000 new jobs created and the drop in the “official” unemployment rate to 8.9%.
It’s nonsense. Even at February’s rate of job growth, it would take until 2019 for the unemployment rate to fall to its level before the recession. And this hides the bitter reality of this “Great Recession”: the average unemployed worker has been out of work for 37 weeks.
Unemployment has been so bad for so long, the proportion of the population that is working has dropped like a rock, and is at its lowest level in 25 years. Millions of unemployed have become so discouraged about not finding a job, they have stopped looking for work. Millions of young people can’t find their first job.
Government officials don’t count these millions of people. The Wall Street Journal (March 5-6) estimates that if the government did count them, the jobless rate would have been 11.5% in February. That’s a big difference from the “official” unemployment rate of 8.9%.
The politicians may tell us everything is getting rosy, but anyone who lives in the real world knows better.