The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Another “Jobless Recovery”:
The New Normal

Feb 4, 2013

The pundits have been crowing about the latest economic figures: the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 157,000 jobs were added in January. That was taken as a sign that the “recovery” is fully underway, that the economy avoided a “double-dip” recession. From workers’ standpoint, it’s a load of B.S.

For the capitalists, the recovery has been fully underway for a while: officially the economy has been in recovery since June 2009. Corporate profits increased by nearly 46 billion dollars in the third quarter of 2012 alone; bank profits increased by more than 68 billion dollars in the same period! The combined net worth of the 400 richest Americans was 1.7 trillion dollars in 2012, up from 1.5 trillion the year before. And the Dow Jones stock market just crossed 14,000 for the first time since 2007, gaining back nearly every point it had lost in the crash of 2008.

Yessir, from the point of view of the incredibly wealthy, things couldn’t be better.

The view from down below, the view of ordinary working people, is very different.

The official unemployment rate is still mired at 7.9 percent, still almost two times what it was in 2007, before the recession. And in fact, real unemployment is much higher: including those who stopped looking for work and those who work part-time because they can’t find full-time work. Real unemployment is more than 20 percent–and increasing since 2009, not decreasing. The ratio of unemployed people to job openings is 3 to 1–as the thousands who line up at every job fair know too well.

Of those unemployed, nearly half have been jobless for 27 weeks or more; in 2007, less than 20 percent of the unemployed were jobless for that long.

157,000 jobs may have been added in January, but that represents nothing: even with these additional jobs, the U.S. job market started 2013 with fewer jobs than in January 2006. Meanwhile, the potential workforce has grown by 8 million. At this rate of job growth, it would take to 2021 to return to the pre-recession unemployment rate!

For anyone in the real economy, it’s still a full-blown crisis, and it’s only gotten worse as it has stretched on and on.

This is yet another “jobless recovery,” the third since 1990. Now they don’t even pretend to worry about it, don’t even use the term–they just call it a recovery. High unemployment in a “recovery” is the new normal, as far as they’re concerned. At the same time, workers’ wages continue to fall while prices continue to rise; and infrastructure and public services continue to crumble.

The current state of affairs is what we’re supposed to accept as normal!

It’s a mark of just how decrepit this system has become. More and more, with every crisis and subsequent “recovery”, it proves itself unable to function for the majority of people in society: less and less can the system provide proper goods and services for people; less and less can it provide jobs for anywhere near one hundred percent of the population.

Their recovery is our continuing crisis. Their system guarantees us misery.

OUR recovery will come when we force THEM to pay for the mess that they have made!