9/7: The American Jobs Picture

By Barbara Carvalho

You have to go back to the 1940’s to find a time of zero net job growth.  And yet, that’s the current dismal state of economic affairs.  Anyway you slice the numbers, 9.1% unemployment coupled with an additional 9 million Americans who are underemployed, that is working part-time but seeking full-time employment, adds up to a sorry jobs picture.  The Congressional Budget Office forecasts at least 8 percent unemployment until 2014.  That certainly doesn’t put any minds at ease.

And, leave it to the economists to  provide less than comforting predictions.  The “official” end to this “Great Recession” supposedly occurred more than two years ago, as if Americans share that view.  Now, the period of slower than expected growth has given rise to talk of a “double dip” recession.  USA TODAY recently noted that many economists are upping the odds that this is likely to occur.  “Fasten your seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

But, will Washington come to the rescue?  With endless discussion over the debt ceiling, President Obama and the GOP Congress seem to have finally discovered that jobs matter greatly to Americans.  And, here we go again.  More battles, less policy, and all, so it seems, with an eye to the 2012 elections.