The May 2012 unemployment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics are out.
This makes it 40 straight months that the official unemployment rate (U3) has been above 8 percent. The more inclusive unemployment rate (U6), which includes “marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons,” has been above 14 percent even longer, for 41 months.
In May, the private nonfarm sector added a paltry 82,000 new jobs, while government employment fell again, by 13,000. Total nonfarm employment therefore rose only 69,000.
Meanwhile, the average (mean) duration of unemployment rose to 39.7 weeks (while the median increased to 20.1 weeks). That’s because the percentage of those who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more rose to 42.8 percent.
The result of this massive, long-term unemployment is that average hourly earnings (for nonsupervisory workers) barely changed from April to May and have risen only 1.3 percent during the past year, a full percentage point less than the rate of inflation. Thus, workers’ real wages continue to decline.
How is this anything other than a Second Great Depression?