US unemployment (17% without work)

The latest figures for US employment came out on Friday.  January’s data showed that the US economy is still shedding jobs.  Indeed, from the start of the recession until March 2009, the US economy lost 8.4m workers (this figure was just revised up over a million).  And of course, there is probably another 1m further losses to add over the last nine months.  It is truly horrendous.

However, in January only 20,000 jobs were lost and it seems that the level of employment has finally reached a bottom, confirming that the Great Recession is over.  Indeed, the official rate of unemployment fell back below 10% in January, although this figure is racked with inaccuracies.  The figure for all those unemployed, made temporary or casual workers or working on reduced hours is a much better sign of the state of employment.  This peaked at a staggering  17% of the US workforce, although it too has also started to fall (right click on ref below).

US employment 0809

But even if things are on the turn, Americans are facing a prolonged period of severe unemployment.  Companies may have stopped sacking workers but they are not rehiring.  The measures of hiring have never been so bad with no sign of an uptick yet (right click on ref below).

job hiring

No wonder any illusions in the Obama administration have fallen away.  One year into his period of office and the state of US employment and income for the average American could hardly be worse.


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