Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Robert Reich on the Economic Recovery

Here's a bit from an April 12 article by Robert Reich in the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. economy added 162,000 jobs in March. That sounds impressive until you look more closely. At least a third of them were temporary government hires to take the census—better than no job but hardly worth writing home about. The 112,000 real new jobs were fewer than the 150,000 needed to keep up with the growth of the U.S. population. It's far better than it was—we're not hemorrhaging jobs as we did in 2008 and 2009—but the bleeding hasn't stopped.

Since the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, the economy has shed 8.4 million jobs and failed to create another 2.7 million required by an ever-larger pool of potential workers. That leaves us more than 11 million jobs behind. (The number is worse if you include everyone working part-time who'd rather it be full-time, those working full-time at fewer hours, and people who are overqualified for the jobs they're in.) This means even if we enjoy a vigorous recovery that produces, say, 300,000 net new jobs a month, we could be looking at five to eight years before catching up to where we were before the recession began.


Americans will once again be employed, but they will also be back on the downward escalator of declining pay they rode before the Great Recession.
The article has many interesting statistics and an in-depth discussion of this recession and the slowly recovering economy.

Here's a video interview on C-Span with Robert Reich which talks about this article and then allows call-in questions from viewers.

The video has a number of callers who show typical ill-informed fears among ordinary Americans. Robert Reich deftly answers their questions without pointing out how wrong-headed and ignorant they really are. I admire his ability to keep lifting the Sysiphean rock from the depths of ignorance back to the hilltop of enlightenment.

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