The International Unemployment Day

Mark Twain once said, "History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme."
I wonder what Twain would think if he looked around America today?

When unemployment rates hit crisis levels during the early 1930's, the unemployed took to the streets and demanded relief aid from the government.
Today the unemployed are again taking to the streets, but their demands are somewhat different.

At rallies, gatherings and training sessions in recent months, activists often tell a similar story in interviews: they had lost their jobs, or perhaps watched their homes plummet in value, and they found common cause in the Tea Party’s fight for lower taxes and smaller government.

"Overwhelming Force"

So, we learned today that our economy lost 35,000 in February and the Unemployment Rate was 9.7%. Markets loved it and so did the Obama Administration - what the heck things are getting worse much less slowly - hurray.

Quite frankly this unacceptable. And what kind of response do we get from Washington: a token response of $18 billion "Jobs Bill". This "Jobs Bill" is a joke. We need "overwhelming force" to address this Jobs Crisis.

This is war, this is a major Jobs Crisis. Here are a few more numbers to chew on (ht Calculated Risk):

Presto! Unemployed people vanish before your very eyes

The big economic news today is the unemployment rate dropped slightly.

The rate unexpectedly fell to 10 percent, from 10.2 percent in October, as employers cut the fewest number of jobs since the recession began. The government also said 159,000 fewer jobs were lost in September and October than first reported.

The Amazing Shrinking Labor Force

About a week ago, Econompic posted some nice charts about recent shrinkage in the labor force. As they noted, without labor force shrinkage, the unemployment situation would look a lot more dire, rising above 10% for the nation as a whole.

In the period between March and August of this year, 837,200 persons left the labor force. This has had the ironic effect of driving down the unemployment rate in many states. Basically, unemployment is still up, but not up as much as it would be if people hadn't exited the labor force. The "economic recovery" at hand is thus largely a function of people who have lost all hope and stopped even looking for work.

The unemployment data was still bad

The BLS report (http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm) came out today with a surprising .1% drop in the unemployment rate to 9.4% (U-6 is at 16.3%), which many here and elsewhere are proclaiming is a turnaround in the employment situation. While this may be the case, other data in that same report leave me doubting that we are going to see any meaningful improvement in the employment situation for some time.

Unemployment during the "Great Recession": a Continuing Structural Change in the Economy

In both the academic and political blogospheres, there are parallel but different discussions going on about the same point: this recession is far more severe in terms of unemployment than the 2.8% loss of GDP from peak would predict. At 9.5% and increasing the unemployment rate is approaching rates only seen once since the 1930s, as almost 8 million jobs have been lost in the last year and 7 months.

A graph illustrating the uniquely bad job losses during this recession has appeared frequently in the blogosphere, and is not a stranger to this blog:

The Case for a V-shaped Jobs Recovery

It is almost universally received wisdom that when the turn comes, we will have a "jobless recovery" where GDP turns up anemically, but unemployment stubbornly rises. Indeed the most controversial notion in some parts of the econoblogosphere is that of the "jobless recovery." as in, can it truly be a "recovery" if the number of jobless Americans continues to increase? Much moreso than dry GDP figures, wages and employment are what matter to the average American. I too have generally accepted the idea that any GDP recovery would be jobless, such that in April I made a graph showing what an unemployment spike will look like if the recession bottoms this summer, but a "jobless recovery" similar to 1991 and 2001 ensues:

NELP: 1.5 Million to Exhaust Unemployment by December.

A little noticed report issued by the National Employment Law Project last Friday dropped something of a bombshell. By the end of this year 1.5 million Americans currently receiving unemployment benefits will have exhausted them.

A sobering analysis released today by the National Employment Law Project estimates that 540,000 Americans will exhaust their unemployment insurance benefits by the end of September, and a whopping 1.5 million will run out of coverage by the end of the year. NELP’s state-by-state analysis comes on the same day as the states announce their latest unemployment figures, and together they demonstrate the pressing need for more extensions.