Posts Tagged ‘unemployment’


Special mention

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Special mention


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We all know (or should know) that, even though the official unemployment in the United States has dropped significantly in recent years, the effects of the combination of high rates of unemployment and of the long duration of being unemployed are still being felt by American workers.

And that’s exactly what Henry S. Farber found. Using data from the Displaced Workers Survey, he found that only 50 percent of job losers in the 2007-09 period where employed in January 2010, while about 56 percent of job losers 2007-2009 had held at least one subsequent job. Moreover, the probability of having held a job increased with the time since job loss. For example, 69 percent of workers who lost jobs in 2007 or 2008 had held at least one job by January 2010. In contrast, only 44 percent of workers who lost jobs in 2009 had held at least one job by January 2010. Finally, the fraction of workers who lost jobs in the 2011-13 period who subsequently found another job remains lower (at 68 percent) than in any period prior to the Great Recession.

Farber’s conclusion?

while job loss is a fact of life in the U.S., the employment consequences of job loss in the Great Recession have been unusually severe and remain substantial years later. Most importantly, job losers in the Great Recession and its aftermath have been much less successful at finding new jobs (particularly full-time jobs) than in earlier periods.

Many American workers found it difficult, if not impossible, to sell their ability to labor during and after the Great Recession. And today, years after the so-called recovery began, workers continue to suffer—both unemployed workers who have found it very difficult to find a new job and employed workers who have been “disciplined” by being forced to have the freedom to compete with unemployed and newly hired workers.



There was a time when the youth (16-24 years) unemployment rate was below 10 percent (e.g., in the late 1990s and early 2000s) or below 9 percent (in the late 1960s) and even around 5-6 percent (in the early 1950s).

Now, however, the youth unemployment rate is above 12 percent—and has been since May 2008.


Certainly not in the United States.

According to the most recent study by the Annie E. Casey Foundation,

Nationally, 22 percent of children (16.1 million) lived in families with incomes below the poverty line in 2013, up from 18 percent in 2008 (13.2 million), representing nearly 3 million more children in poverty. The child poverty rate among African Americans (39 percent) was more than double the rate for non-Hispanic whites (14 percent) in 2013.

In 2013, three in 10 children (22.8 million) lived in families where no parent had full-time, year-round employment. Since 2008, the number of such children climbed by nearly 2.7 million. Roughly half of all American Indian children (50 percent) and African-American children (48 percent) had no parent with full-time, year-round employment in 2013, compared with 37 percent of Latino children, 24 percent of non-Hispanic white children and 23 percent of Asian and Pacific Islander children.

As the authors of the report make clear,

Growing up in poverty is one of the greatest threats to healthy child development. Already high compared with other developed nations, the child poverty rate in the United States increased dramatically as a result of the economic crisis. The official poverty line in 2013 was $23,624 for a family of two adults and two children. Poverty and financial stress can impede children’s cognitive development and their ability to learn. It can contribute to behavioral, social and emotional problems and poor health. The risks posed by economic hardship are greatest among children who experience poverty when they are young and among those who experience persistent and deep poverty.

It’s quite possible (given the decline in unemployment) the indicators of economic well-being for children will improve when the 2014 data are available. However, I’ll venture to guess the rates of poverty and of parents’ lack of secure employment will still be much too high—so high they’ll demonstrate that, in the United States, children simply don’t count.


Special mention

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The details of the agreement between Greece and its European creditors are now available. And there’s no doubt about it: this (as the top-trending Twitter hash tag puts it) is a coup. Greece has been forced to surrender (or, given the upcoming debate in parliament, to have the freedom to consider surrendering) a large part of its national sovereignty in exchange for a new European Stability Mechanism program bailout.

Alexis Tsipras [ht: sk] may or may not be a hero, “who fought like a lion against unfathomably large interests” and made it possible for Greece “to live to fight another day.” But that’s really beside the point. So, in the end, is Greek sovereignty—and, for that matter, the humiliating terms sponsored by Germany.

Because what we’re really witnessing is a coup in Europe as a whole. Merkel, Tsipras, Schäuble, and the rest are just the dramatis personae of a series of events that have turned the European project against its own people.

The dream, of course, was to expand democracy, eliminate national rivalries, and promote universal prosperity. But now the European project has become a nightmare of enforcing the conditions of creating and capturing profits—of large enterprises and banks—across an entire continent. And anything that gets in the way—whether existing pensions and state-owned enterprises or rehiring doctors, nurses, and cleaning women—will be sacrificed on the altar of those free-flowing profits.

And who are the losers? The hundreds of millions of workers, farmers, students, young people, and children who are being forced to endure extraordinary levels of unemployment, poverty, and economic insecurity in order to promote a post-2008 recovery that is benefiting only a tiny minority across the continent. And that’s just as true in Germany as in Greece, in England as in Spain. Not to the same degree, of course. But the current negotiations over Greek debt—in which all of their leaders and finance ministers have participated and to which they have given their assent—have demonstrated to the working people of Europe that nothing will be allowed to stand in the way of the interests of the free deployment of capital under conditions that are administered by the troika.

And if an entire nation has to be humiliated in order to serve as an example, so be it. . .