It Was the Worst of Times . . .

1114-biz-webCHARTSFloyd Norris channels Dickens to discuss the Worst of Times (employment wise):

“The overall unemployment rate, which reached 10.2% on a seasonally adjusted basis last month, remains below the post-World War II peak of 10.8 percent, reached in late 1982. But the proportion of workers who have been out of work for a long time is higher now than it has ever been since the Great Depression.

The persistence of joblessness for so many people — 5.6 million Americans have now been out of work for more than half a year even though they have continued to seek employment — may provide the greatest challenge for the Obama administration if it decides to seek a new economic stimulus program.”

The NYT graphic nearby (click for larger size) shows how rapid and steep the rise in Unemployment has been what compared to some other ugly eras.

This certainly isn’t the Best of Times, at least one indicator seems to be  improving:

“The short-term unemployment rate — the proportion of the work force that has been jobless for less than 15 weeks — has begun to decline, however, and stood at 4.5 percent in October after peaking at 4.9 percent in May.

That decline is a signal that the recession, which officially began in December 2007, probably has ended. In past recessions since World War II, the National Bureau of Economic Research has always dated the end within two months of the peak in short-term joblessness.”


Job Losses Mount, Enduring and Deep
NYT, November 13, 2009

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