A couple days ago the government announced that unemployment had decreased to a mere 9.7% (of course, real unmployment is a rather higher 16.6%, but I digress). So this is good news, right? With 431,000 new jobs created in May, things are ostensibly looking up — a long way up, but up nonetheless:
Until you look a little closer. See, 411,000 of those jobs are temporary, government jobs — census workers. And they’ll be let go come August. This means that actual job growth should probably be estimated as a mere 20,000, which is barely statistically significant when dealing with unemployment figures like these. Moreover, it’s not hard to see that this supposed growth in jobs — even if we do count the census jobs — still keeps us within a percentage point of the last year’s worth of rates:
It’s also worth noting that nearly half of those unemployed are considered long-term unemployed, meaning they haven’t had a job in more than half a year. And that’s not even using the 16.6% figure, which includes “all the people that want a job but gave up, all the people with part-time jobs that want a full-time job, all the people who dropped off the unemployment rolls because their unemployment benefits ran out, etc.” (The DC area, of course, isn’t doing too poorly…)
Ouch. But to add to the grim picture, let me include a few more points:
- In 2010 the U.S. government is projected to issue almost as much new debt as the rest of the governments of the world combined.
- It is being projected that the U.S. government will have a budget deficit of approximately 1.6 trillion dollars in 2010.
- If you went out and spent one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend a trillion dollars.
- In fact, if you spent one million dollars every single day since the birth of Christ, you still would not have spent one trillion dollars by now.
- Total U.S. government debt is now up to 90 percent of gross domestic product.
- Total credit market debt in the United States, including government, corporate and personal debt, has reached 360 percent of GDP.
- In February, there were 5.5 unemployed Americans for every job opening.
- According to a Pew Research Center study, approximately 37% of all Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 have either been unemployed or underemployed at some point during the recession.
- More than 40% of those employed in the United States are now working in low-wage service jobs.
- Over 1.4 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009, which represented a 32 percent increase over 2008. Not only that, more Americans filed for bankruptcy in March 2010 than during any month since U.S. bankruptcy law was tightened in October 2005.
- In 2009, U.S. banks posted their sharpest decline in private lending since 1942.
- This most recession has erased 8 million private sector jobs in the United States.
- Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of 2010.
- U.S. government-provided benefits (including Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs) rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.
Check out a list of 50 such statistics, each with a linked source, here. That this will come to be known as the Second Great Depression seems likely, to say the least.Published in