Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sizing Up the Problem

Here is a way to look at the unemployment problem in the US.

This is from a Wall Street Journal blog by David Wessel:
There are 13.9 million unemployed people in the U.S. – and that just counts those looking for work. That works out to 9.1% of the labor force, the widely publicized unemployed rate.

But here are a few more ways to look at it.

There are more unemployed people in the U.S. than there are people in the state of Illinois, the fifth largest state.

In fact there, there are more unemployed people in the U.S. than there are people in 46 of the 50 states, all but Florida, New York, Texas and California.

There are more unemployed than the combined populations of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Delaware, Montana, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Idaho and the District of Columbia.

If they were a country, the 13.9 million unemployed Americans would be the 68th largest country in the world, bigger than the population of Greece or Portugal (each of which has 10.8 million people) and more than twice the population of Norway (4.7 million.)
And this ignores the fact that the true unemployment level in the US is 25 million if you include the discouraged workers, i.e. people who have stopped actively looking because there is no work or who have taken a part time job simply to have some income during bad times.

It always helps to have additional perspective on a problem. Sadly, the political leadership in the US has their head in the sand and ideological blinkers on. They refuse to see the whole problem. They are too busy winning their petty political skirmishes while the bigger picture is that the US is in peril and problems are going unaddressed.

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