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You know things are bad—and going to get worse—when a mainstream newspaper like the Washington Post invokes the Mohr: What Karl Marx once called “the reserve army of the unemployed” will probably keep wage growth in check as the recovery inches forward. Despite the inverted commas, Marx never used that exact phrase. He referred to […]

Wage growth has been so slow in recent years even the International Monetary Fund has taken notice. They’ve even discovered the reason: the Reserve Army of the Unemployed and Underemployed. Let me explain. Stephan Danninger, writing on IMF Direct, has noted that, while the U.S. labor market seems to have healed (with an official unemployment rate now […]

  The new jobs report is out and, pretty much as expected, a bunch of new jobs (242,000, to be exact) were created in February and the official unemployment rate remained the same (at 4.9 percent). But workers’ wages actually declined. What’s going on? What’s going on is a key feature of capitalism: the reserve […]

The official unemployment rate has fallen to 5.1 percent. So, according to mainstream economists, the U.S. economy is now at full employment.* And, in order to prevent inflation, it’s time for the Fed to raise interest-rates. source The problem, of course, is we should expect to see wages going up at such low levels of […]

Mainstream economists have, it seems, rediscovered what we’ve known since at least the middle of the nineteenth century: capitalism produces a relative surplus population of unemployed and unemployed workers. And that surplus of labor puts downward pressure on workers’ wages. Back then it was called the “industrial reserve army.” I have referred to it since 2010 […]

source Right now, almost five years into the U.S. economic “recovery,” there are about 9.7 million workers who are officially (U3) unemployed, 3.5 million of whom have been without a job for 27 weeks or more (according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics). For most Americans, the plight of the millions of their fellow citizens […]

Europe is, like the United States, experiencing a Second Great Depression.* The best indicator of austerity-induced depression in Europe is the Reserve Army of the Unemployed, which according to Eurostat [pdf] rose to 9.8 percent in October. (That’s the rate for the European Union. The rate for the Euro area was even higher, at 10.3 […]

The official unemployment rate continues to fall. But we shouldn’t expect full employment anytime soon—if ever. A new consensus seems to be forming among mainstream economists that the structurally determined relative surplus population—the “industrial reserve army”—has grown. They now set the “sustainable” level of unemployment at 6.5 to 7 percent. At one time, it was […]

Everyone agrees: the recovery from so-called Great Recession continues to be a Second Great Depression for working people. Why? Because a larger and larger portion of the labor force has been unemployed for longer and longer periods of time. According to Michael Greenstone and Adam Looney of the Brookings Institution, The data confirm the story […]

The current U.S. “recovery” is a disaster for workers. And a boon to capitalists. 15 million are officially unemployed in the United States. An additional 1.1 million workers are “discouraged” and have given up looking for a job. On top of that, 9 million want full-time jobs but can’t find them. And there’s another group […]