This is not a recovery. It's a continuing jobs emergency and it demands action.
We learned this morning that unemployment rose to
9.8 percent in November and employers added only 39,000 jobs. Private
employers added 50,000 -- the smallest gain since January. Government
employment continued to shrink.
We're heading in the wrong direction. In October,
the jobless rate was 9.6 percent, and employers added 172,000 jobs.
Private-sector job growth totaled 160,000.
At this rate unemployment won't return to its pre-recession level for more than a decade, if ever.
Over 15 million Americans were jobless in
November. This doesn't include those who are working part-time but would
prefer to work full time. Nor does it include a record 1.3 million who
are too discouraged even to look for work.
Nor does it take account of the fact that most
families are dependent on two breadwinners. So to figure out the true
impact on most families, all these numbers have to be doubled.
Nor does it reflect the fact that the level of
unemployment tracks level of education. Only 5 percent of those with
college degrees are now unemployed, while more than 20 percent of
everyone else is without work.
Maybe that's why Washington doesn't get it. The Washington echo chamber is filled with college degrees.
The Big Money economy on Wall Street and in
corporate suites doesn't get it, either. They're doing marvelously well
because they're tied to rapidly-growing markets in China, India, and
But the Average Worker economy on Main Street continues to wallow.
Let's be clear about this. The problem is lack of sufficient demand for workers.
There are only four sources of demand. The biggest
source is American consumers, who comprise about 70 percent of economic
But the vast American middle and working class
can't and won't buy enough to get people back to work. They're still
under a huge debt load.
Even if and when they pay it off, their buying
days are gone. The Great Recession took away their last means of coping
with years of stagnant wages -- going deeper into debt by using their
homes as collateral. The housing bubble burst, and home prices continue