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The Great Recession pushed the share of the long-term unemployed (defined as being unemployed more than 6 months) to over 40 percent throughout 2010 and 2011. But, a new report from the Center for Economic and Policy Research shows that this standard measure estimate understates the extent of long-term hardship in the U.S. labor market.
The U.S. economy added a mere 64,000 private sector jobs in September, while nonfarm payroll employment fell by 95,000, leaving the unemployment rate unchanged at 9.6 percent, the U.S. Labor Department announced on Friday. Currently the number of unemployed persons stands at 14.8 million, but this figure is much higher if discouraged workers who have looked for work in the past year are included, as well as, millions of part-time workers who want to work full time.
A whopping 18.3% of American workers are unemployed or working part time, but want to work full-time, a Gallup Poll released on Wednesday shows. Although down from its peak of 20.4% in April, underemployment has remains unchanged since the end of June. One bright spot of the Gallup poll: 45% of underemployed Americans are “hopeful” in mid-August they will be able to find work in the next month, up from the 40% who felt that way in mid-July, and the highest level of 2010.
After starting the year with the heaviest downsizing in nearly a decade, the number of announced job cuts declined dramatically in the second half of 2009, providing hope for an eventual job-market turnaround. The turnaround should become more evident in 2010, as job creation finally begins to outpace job losses, according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.
The number of jobs already created from the federal stimulus monies could just be more than the current 640,000 the Obama administration has said were created or saved. That’s because a number of recipients nationwide that received federal stimulus dollars have not filed the required reports, indicating what the funds were used for and how many people were hired or remained on the job.
Job losses in the US slowed to 11,000 in November and the unemployment rate which had risen to 10.2 percent in October, declined to 10.0 percent in November. However, despite the welcome news, Christina Romer, Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors, said in a statement today that, “it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, positive or negative”.
Today, one in five Americans is unemployed, underemployed or just plain out of work. One in nine families can’t make the minimum payment on their credit cards. One in eight mortgages is in default or foreclosure. One in eight Americans is on food stamps. More than 120,000 families are filing for bankruptcy every month. The economic crisis has wiped more than $5 trillion from pensions and savings, has left family balance sheets upside down, and threatens to put ten million homeowners out on the street.
President Obama announced today that he would convene a White House Summit to discuss how everyone can work together to create jobs. Obama said that while a report on Thursday from the U.S. Labor Department showed that there were fewer claims for jobless benefits and it is “a hopeful sign”, there are people who are “desperately searching for work”. Moreover, he said, the state has an “obligation to consider every additional responsible step we can” to get people back to work.
New York columist, Charles M. Blow, contrasts then candidate Barack Obama’s words last October 2008, with the current dire unemployment situation facing nearly one in five Americans. Obama in his speech in Toledo, Ohio one year ago said, “Right now, we face an immediate economic emergency, and that requires urgent action. We can’t wait to help workers and families and communities who are struggling right now — who don’t know if their job or their retirement will be