07 October 2011
Unemployment Still Bad
Via Calculated Risk.
A third of the 4.5 million unemployed workers in the United States have been unemployed for a year or more; 45% of the 9.1% of the work force that is unemployed have been unemployed for at least six months and are no longer eligible for unemployment benefits (if they ever were eligible). Percentages of the population that are part-time for economic reasons (i.e. partially unemployed) remain near record highs as well. And, neither of those factors include people who are not in the workforce because they have given up trying to find a job. The less educated, as usual, are harder hit.
About 103,000 jobs were added to the economy in September, but that is just half the number needed to provide jobs to new entrants to the workforce as the nation's population gradually grows.
More generally, while some jobs are being created, we are nowhere near digging out of the hole created by the financial crisis. At year end, this will be the longest sustained period of net employment loss of any post-World War II recession.
Thirty four months after the employment recession started and 19 months after employment hit bottom, we still have 4.8% fewer jobs in the United States than we did when the employment recession started. Employment has been this far below pre-recession levels for 31 straight months. The only other post-war recession that every had that much of a jobs loss was in 1948 and it was at that low point for only a single month.
No other recession in post-WWII history has ever added jobs so much more slowly than it lost them in the way that we have seen in the recession from which we are trying to recover. Since it took fifteen months for the U.S. to lose jobs to reach the employment levels we are at right now, it will surely take longer than that, given current trends, to recover those jobs. This means that we will still have net job loss until sometime in 2013 at the earliest, and if we wiped out the net job losses from this recession by the end of 2014, we would still be beating the current employment recovery trend.
This is definitely bad new for President Obama's re-election campaign, which hinges on voter attitudes in November 2012 and the economy even four months from now is a fairly strong predictor of election outcomes.
Personal bankrupcies are down somewhat from last quarter but still at the levels seen prior to the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 2005.