Friday, September 4, 2009

On Labor...

On Monday, much of the employed population of America will be taking the day off. It is Labor Day, the "yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country."

Today, we receive news that the unemployment rate in the United States has risen to 9.7 percent (up from 9.4 percent last month) - and that an additional 216,000 people were shed from productive employment in August.

Certainly, the number of jobs shed is lower than in previous months. But it is no cause for celebration. The job market has yet to see any improvements as the result of all the many bailouts made to banks. Nor has the stimulus provided a much-needed positive boost to jobs creation at this point.

As we light up the barbecues on Monday to celebrate "the social and economic achievements of American workers," it is clear that labor's achievements have been badly damaged as the result of the economic crisis. The ability to make a decent living in America has taken a huge hit in the last year.

More links below...

Department of Labor home page, with unemployment stats

WaPo story on the increase in the unemployment rate

9/4/09 Chicago Tribune story written in advance of the release of unemployment stats - predicting a rise in unemployment to 9.5 percent. Like when Truman "lost," Trib's wrong on this one....

WSJ story on the "moderate" job losses seen in August - the story points out:

"The unemployment rate, calculated using a survey of households as opposed to companies, grew to 9.7%, the highest level since June 1983 when the rate was 10.1%. In July, the unemployment rate had declined for the first time since April 2008. The unemployment rate was under 6% less than one year ago."

WSJ story on the huge load of debt students are taking on in order to go to college - our future workers will enter the job force bearing a heavy burden of debt....

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