The New American Reality of Long-Term Unemployment and Destitution

As illustrated by this (slightly improved) graphic from the New York Times, long-term unemployment (as a percentage of the workforce) has now outrun all previous recessions since this data began to be collected in 1948, and even more bad news is lurking under the numbers.

At the height of unemployment in 1982, one of every five unemployed workers was on a temporary layoff, with the expectation they would be recalled, sooner or later. Today the comparable figure is 1 of 10.

So only one in ten workers is likely to get his or her old job back, and meanwhile, according to another jolly headline in the same newspaper...

Prolonged Aid to Unemployed Is Running Out.

Over the coming months, as many as 1.5 million jobless Americans will exhaust their unemployment insurance benefits, ending what for some has been a last bulwark against foreclosures and destitution.

And of course there's more bad news in the fine print.

For every job that becomes available, about six people are looking.

So more and more people are looking for jobs...

Initial weekly jobless claims rose by 25,000 to a seasonally adjusted 584,000 during the week ended July 25...

But there are fewer and fewer jobs...

"Although this level of weekly claims is well off the 643,000 high reported in the May 9th week, it still implies a 375,000 decline in payroll employment for the month."

And even among so many other gloomy factoids, it's still possible that the most salient predictor of our absurd economic future emerged from Obama's absurd beer-fest with Gates and Crowley, when the American beer industry protested that all the beer those three new best friends forever drank was "foreign beer," and one of those "foreign beers" was Budweiser, now owned by the giant Brazilian-Belgian beer-monster InterBrew-Ambev.

Now every little check Obama writes for more and bigger war in Afghanistan or unemployment benefits extended even beyond the current limit of 79 weeks (which is about to expire for hundreds of thousands of Americans), and all the really big checks to cover the ongoing $23.7 trillion financial meltdown...

All those checks will be underwritten by corporate and sovereign-fund monstrosities from faraway places, in return for bigger and bigger pieces of Fire-Sale America, and if anybody asks you what's even more American than Budweiser beer, the answer is...

Long-term unemployment and destitution.


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    The Deflationary Death-Spiral (none / 0) (#1)
    by Jacob Freeze on Sun Aug 02, 2009 at 12:06:09 PM EST
    Economic cheerleaders all over the world are terrified by the word "deflation," which signifies transition from a very bad recession to the economic death-spiral of depression, and even when they have to move from denial...

    "There Is No Deflation Threat In Europe" - Jean Claude Trichet

    ...a little closer to reality...

    The European Union's statistics office also said on Friday that inflation in the euro area had moved much further into negative territory than forecast in July, with consumer prices falling at an annualized rate of 0.6 percent.

    Not to worry!

    It isn't deflation!


    Negative inflation!