More bad economic news for the long term unemployed. Things are getting worse instead of better as more and more of the long term unemployed continue to be without a job for longer and longer periods of time. In a report recently issue by the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, it was revealed that the number of people unemployed for a period of one year or greater has hit a record high. The report, subtitled as “Ranks of the unemployed for a year or more up sharply” continues to explain the plight of the long term unemployed as follows:
The number of long-term unemployed workers has increased sharply since the recession began in December 2007. In the second quarter of 2010, about 46 percent of the 14.6 million unemployed persons were jobless for 27 weeks or longer and about 31 percent were unemployed for 52 weeks or longer. This report focuses on the latter group – those who have been jobless for a year or more.
Continuing in the next paragraph, the report delivers the following distressing news about the state of the recession that many economist say is officially over:
The number of persons jobless for a year or more rose from 645,000 in the second quarter of 2007 to 4.5 million in the second quarter of 2010. The group’s share of total unemployment jumped from 9.5 percent to a record high of 30.9 percent.
I do not understand how anyone in their right mind can conclude that the recession is over when faced with simple facts like this. In a period of less than two years, the number of long term unemployed has increased a GIGANTIC 597%. This figure, in all actuality, does not represent the full extent of the suffering by the long term unemployed. This data only reflects those people still receiving unemployment benefits and not the 6+ million 99ers that have already fallen off of the unemployment roles because they have exhausted all benefits.
Why the American people are not up in arms about this social disaster is beyond me. Even from a level of self-interest, the people must be aware that this level of unemployment is a huge drag on consumer spending, and to our overall level of confidence as reflected in the national psyche. No wonder nobody is investing significantly in new job creation – millions are simply being abandoned by our social support systems and left to suffer from benign neglect.
I am reminded once again of my favorite quote by Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead – “Somebody has to do something, and it’s incredibly pathetic that it has to be us!” We must start by re-authorizing unemployment extensions that are due to expire at the end of November. Then we must create a Tier V extension to bring the millions of suffering 99ers back into the fold. Then we must attack with a vengeance the root cause of all of this excessive unemployment – the lack of jobs, jobs, jobs! What a waste to leave all of this human talent behind and unutilized. We can do better, we should, and we will!
http://www.bls.gov/opub/ils/pdf/opbils87.pdf>Issues in Labor Statistics