Archive for June 11, 2011
Over its relatively short two and a half century history, the United States has created more jobs than just about any other nation on Earth. Our country became known as the Great American Jobs Machine. During the past two years, however, Americans can justly wonder if someone killed their vaunted jobs machine.
Two years after the claimed end of the 2008–2009 recession, the United States is mired in the worst period of high unemployment since the Great Depression. As shown by the chart at left (taken from the Calculated Risk Blog), we are in the midst of the only post-WWII period of L-shaped unemployment — a sharp fall in employment followed by little to no recovery growth. The reality is actually worse than this chart indicates because the slight decrease in unemployment over the past year is largely due to the fact that the unemployment rate stopped counting the millions of long term unemployed who have dropped out of the workforce after giving up on finding work. Even after skipping these growing legions of discouraged workers, the government’s unemployment rate is again on the rise to 9.1% in May 2011.