Sunday, August 8, 2010

On the language of unemployment...

I am slowly realizing that what we talk about when we talk about unemployment in this economy is largely fictional. A couple of months ago, we celebrated a decline in unemployment. We're no longer looking at 10% unemployment; the number is now hovering at 9.5%.

But when you look closer, that decline is not the result of improved employment and expanding economy. It's the result of not counting people who've despaired of finding a job in this market. If you stop looking for a job, you're no longer considered "unemployed."

That's a pathetic way to look at unemployment - that we're not going to count people who've given up hope of getting a job. Because for us to truly recognize the enormity of the problem, we need to fully count ALL the millions of people who are not employed, not just the ones who remain hopeful of getting a job once again someday.

Here's a link to Mark Thoma's post on the August unemployment report. Two years ago, we rescued our financial sector, we were told, to help the economy. However, two years after the rescue, two years of nice bonuses packages for those on Wall Street, the economy remains in peril.

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