A recent Economix column has a chart comparing this recession against others we've experienced. And guess what? This one's pretty bad!
Unemployment has risen to 9.1%, thanks to the tepid movement on new jobs in May. Under-employment remains high. And the numbers of those who've "dropped out of the employment market" is large as well. Here's what Economix has to say about it:
"Since the downturn began in December 2007, the economy has shed, on net, about 5 percent of its nonfarm payroll jobs. And that does not even account for the fact that the working-age population has continued to grow, meaning that if the economy were healthy we should have more jobs today than we had before the recession.....
There are now 13.9 million workers who are looking for work and cannot find it; the figure nearly doubles if you include workers who are part-time but want to be employed full-time, and workers who want to work but have stopped looking."If you add it up, it looks like 20% of our work force is without a decent job.
Clearly, it's a bit of a fiction to view the 9.1% figure as the national "unemployment rate," given how many people are not being properly utilized in the labor market, but that's how we do it here in America; we charge blindly into that dark night!