Monday, December 9, 2013

8 Million are Unemployed, Middle-Aged & Screwed

Does anybody remember this headline on November 6, 2009 in the New York Times 49 months ago: U.S. Unemployment Rate Hits 10.2%, Highest in 26 Years?

That was when the Bureau of Labor Statistics was reporting 15.7 million Americans were unemployed. This was before the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities reported 8.7 million job losses between the start of the recession in December of 2007 and when the recession "officially" ended.

In a recent statement, Secretary of Labor Thomas E Perez said, "The November employment report continues the 45-month trend of private-sector job growth with 8.1 million new jobs created over that time."

Now keep in mind, over those same last 45 months of job growth, we also had 12 million young people who graduated from high school. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that only 48.8 percent of the 3.2 million youth who graduated from high school last year were "in the labor force". In a 14-page report by Rutgers, they noted a whopping 44% of high school students were unemployed (So are we to assume that the other 6 million high school grads have either found jobs and/or are enrolled in college?)

The latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' (BLS) says we now have 10.9 million unemployed --- but they report that of those, only 4.1 million have been jobless for 6 months or longer (and might have once been eligible for federal extended unemployment benefits before they expire at the end of this year).

What does all this tell you, when the government is now saying that the unemployment rate went down to 7% --- the lowest since Obama was first elected in November 2008?

As of two years ago, almost 18 million long-term unemployed Americans (at some point in time during the Great Recession) received federal extended unemployment benefits (meaning they were unemployed longer than 6 months). Currently there are 1.3 million claiming extended unemployment insurance benefits, and they will immediately expire by the end of this month.

By some estimates, if we counted all the long-term unemployed, and those who exhausted all their unemployment benefits (those who the government calls "discouraged workers") and who no longer are counted by the government, we have closer to 30 or 35 million people out of work --- twice as many as we had out of work in October 2009 --- and more than 3 times the number that the government currently claims --- because the long-term unemployed have been incrementally dropped from the monthly tally over the past 5 years (little by little, so no one would notice --- but WE did!)

And how are we going to put 20 to 30 million jobless Americans to work when jobs continued to be offshored to lower-wage countries? (Many jobs that were once outsourced to China are now being outsourced to even lower-wage countries, such as Vietnam and Cambodia.)

Especially when employers are refusing to hire the long-term unemployed (such as older workers, like the Baby Boomers) --- how are THEY expected to survive if they are too young for Social Security and can't qualify for other retirement plans or pension benefits?

According to the most recent research by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, by the time someone has been out of work for only six months, their chances for reemployment drops to 10%. --- so what are the odds for the 7 to 8 million 99ers, those who have been out of work for 2, 3, 4, and 5 years?

Especially if they are older workers over 50 years old? Are their chances for reemployment down to 0% -- and could that be why so many are taking their own lives?

1 comment:

  1. UPDATE:::::::

    Robert Kuttner, co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect magazine, as well as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the think tank Demos and a longtime columnist for Business Week, debunks the job recovery:

    1) Past budget deals since 2010 have imposed 10-year cuts well into the trillions, at a time when the economy needs more public investment, not less.
    2) Public sector employment -- federal, state, and local -- are down 1.47 million jobs since the economic crisis began.
    3) Most analysts believe that the impressive growth posted in the third quarter was a one-off, the result of businesses rebuilding inventories.
    4) The share of long-term unemployed (out of a job for six months or more) was up from October, to 37.3 percent.
    5) The share of working age people in the labor market (and thus counted in the unemployment statistics) is still at historic lows.
    6) The unemployment rate keeps dropping mainly because discouraged workers keep dropping out.
    7) Most of the jobs are being created in sectors that pay lousy wages.
    8) Millions of people who want full-time jobs still work part time.
    9) Wages are still lagging far behind productivity growth.
    10) The top one percent captures the lion's share of the nation's economic gains.