In the current economic depression, there are now more than 6 Americans competing for every job. A normal recovery would see the US economy adding about 500,000 new jobs a month. Instead, last month it added 120,000 and economists hailed it as a major victory. Of course, it needs to create 150,000 jobs just to stay even with population growth. As it is there are 7 million fewer jobs today than there were in 2007…and the number of unemployed people is growing.
In 2007, just 10% of the unemployed had been jobless for 6 months or more. Today, the total is 40%. And with so little growth in the job market, many of these unemployed people will never work again.
What’s the problem?
Truth is, no one really knows. The simple explanation is that there’s a Great Correction going on. But even before the Great Correction, decent jobs were disappearing. The recession of 2001 was followed by the first “jobless recovery.” But every recession since the 1970s has been succeeded by a weaker and weaker recovery.
The feds don’t really have any idea why this is. Every politician and policy wonk suggests the usual remedies — more education, retraining and infrastructure investment. But there is no evidence that any of these things would really make the job picture much better.
As we explained earlier this year, the education industry has been a money pit. Huge amounts of money have been “invested” both by parents and the feds. It doesn’t seem to have helped the economy very much. True, a college grad is more likely to have a job…but only because he’s taking it away from someone without one.
The unemployment problem is a “tough nut to crack,” says The Financial Times.
Of course, we could fix the jobless problem overnight. But people wouldn’t appreciate it. We would simply remove all subsidies for unemployed people…and all restraints on hiring. Labor prices would fall fast. Within days, we’d have full employment again.
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