Jobless Recovery?: 25 Unemployment Statistics That Are Almost Too Depressing To Read

Guess what?  Unemployment is up again!  That’s right – even though Wall Street is swimming in cash and the Obama administration is declaring that “the recession is over”, the U.S. unemployment rate has gone even higher.  So are you enjoying the jobless recovery?  The truth is that there should not be any talk of a “recovery” as long as the “official” unemployment rate remains at around 10 percent and the “real” unemployment continues to hover around 17 percent.  There are millions and millions of American families that are living every day in deep pain because of the lack of jobs.  Meanwhile, there are all of these economic pundits that are declaring that we are just going to have to realize that chronic unemployment is the “new normal” and that if other nations can handle high rates of unemployment then so can we.  The most optimistic economists are projecting that we can perhaps get the unemployment rate down to around 8 percent by 2012.  On the other hand, there are many economists that are convinced that things are going to get even worse.

If you have never been unemployed, it can be hard to describe how soul-crushing it can be.  As the bills pile up and the financial obligations mount, the pressure can be debilitating.  Being unemployed for an extended period of time can easily plunge you into depression and grind your self-worth away to almost nothing.  After getting rejected dozens of times (or even hundreds of times), many Americans simply give up.  There are countless marriages and countless families that are being ripped to shreds by financial pressure even as you read this.  When the money is gone and there is no job in sight it can be a really, really empty feeling.

Of course there is a whole lot more to life than money, but it can be difficult to tell that to someone who can barely sleep at night because of the intense pressure to find a job.

The vast majority of Americans have at least one family member or close friend that is looking for work right now.  Times are really, really tough and unfortunately the long-term outlook is very bleak.  We should have compassion on those who are out of work right now, because soon many of us may join them.

The following are 25 unemployment statistics that are almost too depressing to read….

#1 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. unemployment rate for November was 9.8 percent.  This was up from 9.6 percent in October, and it continues a trend of depressingly high unemployment rates.  The official unemployment number has been at 9.5 percent or higher for well over a year at this point.

#2 In November 2006, the “official” U.S. unemployment rate was just 4.5 percent.

#3 Most economists had been expecting the U.S. economy to add about 150,000 jobs in November.  Instead, it only added 39,000.

#4 In the United States today, there are over 15 million people who are “officially” considered to be unemployed for statistical purposes.  But everyone knows that the “real” number is even much larger than that.

#5 As 2007 began, there were just over 1 million Americans that had been unemployed for half a year or longer.  Today, there are over 6 million Americans that have been unemployed for half a year or longer.

#6 The number of “persons not in the labor force” in the United States recently set another new all-time record.

#7 It now takes the average unemployed American over 33 weeks to find a job.

#8 When you throw in “discouraged workers” and “underemployed workers”, the “real” unemployment rate in the state of California is actually about 22 percent.

#9 In America today there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone.  In fact, there are now approximately 5 unemployed Americans for every single job opening.

#10 According to The New York Times, Americans that have been unemployed for five weeks or less are three times more likely to find a new job in the coming month than Americans that have been unemployed for over a year.

#11 The U.S. economy would need to create 235,120 new jobs a month to get the unemployment rate down to pre-recession levels by 2016.  Does anyone think that there is even a prayer that is going to happen?

#12 There are 9 million Americans that are working part-time for “economic reasons”.  In other words, those Americans would gladly take full-time jobs if they could get them, but all they have been able to find is part-time work.

#13 In 2009, total wages, median wages, and average wages all declined in the United States.

#14 As of the end of 2009, less than 12 million Americans worked in manufacturing.  The last time that less than 12 million Americans were employed in manufacturing was in 1941.

#15 The United States has lost at least 7.5 million jobs since the recession began.

#16 Today, only about 40 percent of Ford Motor Company’s 178,000 workers are employed in North America, and a big percentage of those jobs are in Canada and Mexico.

#17 In 1959, manufacturing represented 28 percent of U.S. economic output.  In 2008, it represented 11.5 percent.

#18 Earlier this year, one poll found that 28% of all American households had at least one member that was looking for a full-time job.

#19 In the United States today, over 18,000 parking lot attendants have college degrees.

#20 The United States has lost a staggering 32 percent of its manufacturing jobs since the year 2000.

#21 As the employment situation continues to stagnate, millions of American families have decided to cut back on things such as insurance coverage.  For example, the percentage of American households that have life insurance coverage is at its lowest level in 50 years.

#22 Unless Congress acts, and there is no indication that is going to happen, approximately 2 million Americans will stop receiving unemployment checks over the next couple of months.

#23 A poll that was released by the Pew Research Center back in June discovered that an astounding 55 percent of the U.S. labor force has experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the economic downturn began.

#24 According to Richard McCormack, the United States has lost over 42,000 factories (and counting) since 2001.

#25 In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.

But this is what we get for creating the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world.  For decades we have been digging a deeper hole for ourselves by going into increasingly larger amounts of debt.  In America today, our entire economy is based on debt.  Even our money is debt.  We were fools if we ever thought this could go on forever.

Just think about it.  Have you ever gone out and run up a bunch of debt?  It can be a lot of fun sitting behind the wheel of a new car, running your credit cards up to the limit and buying a beautiful big house that you cannot afford.

But in the end what happens?

It always catches up with you.

Well, our collective debt is starting to catch up with us.  There is a sea of red ink on every level of American society.  It is only a matter of time before it destroys our economy.

If you think that things are bad now, just wait.  Things are going to get a whole lot worse.  A horrific economic collapse is coming, and it is going to be very, very painful.

Tent Cities, Homelessness And Soul-Crushing Despair: The Legacy Of Decades Of Government Debt And Mismanagement Of The Economy

For decades, our politicians have been deeply addicted to government debt, they have stood idly by as millions of our jobs have been shipped overseas and they have passed countless business-crushing regulations and they never thought that it would catch up with us.  Well, it has.  America has been living in the biggest debt bubble in the history of the world, and now that bubble is starting to pop.  There has never been such an extended period of unemployment in the United States since the Great Depression, and millions of Americans are losing their homes.  Homelessness is skyrocketing, tent cities are popping up everywhere and countless numbers of American families are experiencing the soul-crushing despair that comes from desperately trying to hang on for month after month after month.

Now, because of the horrific hole that our politicians have dug for us, we are faced with some heartbreaking choices.  For example, right now the U.S. Congress is deciding whether or not to extend long-term unemployment benefits for the nation’s jobless.

Extending those benefits through the end of February would add another $12.5 billion to the U.S. national debt.  But not doing it would cut off the only lifeline that many Americans have just in time for the holidays.

The extension of jobless benefits that was passed last summer expires on December 1st.  If these long-term benefits are not renewed, approximately 2 million unemployed Americans will lose their checks.

But what can the U.S. Congress do?  Just keep going into endless amounts of debt?  As I have written about previously, the United States is never going to see another balanced budget ever again under the current system.  The U.S. government is flat out broke.  Somehow our politicians desperately need to find a way for the federal budget to stop hemorrhaging red ink.

There is no more “extra money” to spend.  The U.S. government has piled up the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world and we are headed for a complete and total economic disaster because of it.

But what are we going to do?  Are we going to let millions of Americans starve in the streets?

It’s not just the rapidly rising number of homeless Americans that is the problem.  Millions of Americans are not going to be able to heat their homes this winter.  Millions of others are going to have to choose between buying medicine and buying food because they will not be able to afford both.

How would you like to be at a point where you could not go to the doctor because you knew that you could not pay the deductible?

How would you like to be at a point where you had to decide whether to buy diabetes medicine or to buy macaroni and cheese to feed your family?

More than 42 million Americans are now on food stamps, and that number keeps going up month after month after month.

Just think about that.

42 million Americans would not be able to eat if the U.S. government did not give them handouts.

The safety net is getting awfully crowded.

If you really want to see some soul-crushing desperation, go check out the flood tunnels under the city of Las Vegas.  But do not do this alone – it is very dangerous down there.  Today, there are hordes of “tunnel people” who call those dark tunnels home.  Nobody knows for sure how many people are down there (some people say that it is well into the thousands), but everyone agrees that the number is rapidly growing.

But in many major U.S. cities there are no flood tunnels to go to.  Instead, in many areas of the United States huge tent cities have sprouted.  The following is a video news report from the BBC about the tent cities that are popping up all over America….

But it is not just “drug addicts” and the “mentally ill” that are going to these tent cities.  One anonymous unemployed woman identified only as “Kaynonymous” is a highly educated professional who figures that she will end up in a tent city soon….

“I’m a 99er too. 53, female, single and once on track with an IT career. No one in their right mind would consider me for an IT position after being gone from the field for over 2 years. I have officially been a 99er since May 2010. In Aug. 2010 all of my savings and retirement funds were finally depleted–not only can I no longer make my mortgage payment, I can no longer afford utilities either. I’m just not sure that the 99ers ever had a voice outside of union organizers and even with them it was too little too late. Guess I’ll be seeing ya’ll in the soup kitchens and tent cities. I do still have my tent…”

So we should just extend the long-term unemployment benefits, right?  Well, according to a recent poll commissioned by the National Employment Law Project, 73 percent of Americans want Congress to continue paying out extended unemployment benefits.

But it is not just that simple.

America is broke.

The entire financial system is dying.

The U.S. government desperately needs to stop spending so much money.

But how can we turn our backs on people who are desperately hurting?

There are millions of Americans that have just about reached the end of their ropes.  For example, one 43-year-old woman named Jacqueline recently expressed some of the extreme frustration that she is experiencing on her blog….

I am one of the 6 million poor, unemployed middle-aged Americans struggling without any safety net or income other than food stamps. I have resorted to salvaging scrap metal just to survive while keeping up an increasingly hopeless job search. On May 4th, 2010 just three weeks before my 43rd birthday ago I got slapped with a diagnosis of very early stage glaucoma when I had a six year long overdue optical exam for badly needed new glasses. Without treatment — including ophthalmologist’s glaucoma monitoring exams — I will end up blind and permanently disabled. It’s not a matter of “if”, it’s a matter of when.

As a society, we will be judged by how we treat those who are the most vulnerable.  It can seem easy to bash those who have lost everything, but someday you might end up in that position.  In the following video, police in St. Petersburg, Florida are seen using box cutters to slice up the tents that the homeless were sleeping in….

Hopefully you were deeply disturbed by that video.

We have gotten ourselves into a giant mess, and things are only going to get worse.

Unfortunately, some extremely painful decisions are going to have to be made.

The truth is that we are so deeply in debt that the U.S. government just cannot be spending any extra money right now.

However, we also cannot turn our backs on millions of American families that are going to lose their homes and go hungry if we do not help them.

So what do we do?

What hurting Americans need most of all are not handouts – what they really need are good jobs.

But good jobs are being shipped overseas at a breathtaking pace.  The United States has lost approximately 42,400 factories since 2001.  The greatest economic machine in the history of the world is literally having its guts ripped out, and most of you kept voting in jokers who supported all of this deindustrialization.

For decades, our politicians kept telling us how wonderful globalization would be for America.  We didn’t listen when Ross Perot warned us about “the great sucking sound” that these “free trade” agreements would bring about.

Well, look how all of that turned out.  In 1985, the U.S. trade deficit with China was 6 million dollars for the entire year.  In the month of August alone, the U.S. trade deficit with China was over 28 billion dollars.

In case you can’t figure it out, that means that 28 billion dollars of our national wealth was transferred to China in just one month.

This is happening month after month after month.

And yet Barack Obama continues to get up and tell us how wonderful globalism is.  During his recent trip to India, Barack Obama made the following statement….

“This will keep America on its toes. America is going to have to compete. There is going to be a tug-of-war within the US between those who see globalization as a threat and those who accept we live in a open integrated world, which has challenges and opportunities.”

Yes, globalization is a threat.  We should have never merged our economy with the economy of China where workers make less than a tenth of what an American worker makes.

Jobs are flooding out of the U.S. and they are flooding into places like India and China where labor is far, far cheaper.

But without good jobs, how in the world are average Americans going to pay the bills?

The answer is that an increasing number of them are not.  1.41 million Americans filed for personal bankruptcy in 2009 – a 32 percent increase over 2008.

Incomes are going down.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, median household income in the United States fell from $51,726 in 2008 to $50,221 in 2009.

Things are getting worse instead of getting better.

And things are going to continue to get worse because the U.S. government goes into more debt every single month, most state and local governments go into more debt every single month, and thanks to America’s exploding trade deficit, tens of billions of our national wealth gets transferred out of the United States every single month.

The U.S. economy is dying.  There are going to be even more tent cities and even more hungry Americans.  The scale of the economic nightmare that we are facing in the years ahead is going to be unimaginable.

So if you get to enjoy a warm dinner and you get to sleep in a warm bed tonight, please consider yourself to be very fortunate.  Someday soon you also may find those things cruelly stripped away from you.

As Americans Celebrate Labor Day 2010, U.S. Factories Are Closing In Droves

Labor Day 2010 comes in the midst of a stunning wave of U.S. factory closings that stretches from coast to coast.  Once upon a time America was the greatest manufacturing machine that the world has ever seen, but now it seems as though the only jobs available for working class Americans involve phrases such as “Welcome to Wal-Mart” and “Would you like fries with that?”  Even though the population of the United States has exploded over the last several decades, the number of Americans employed in the manufacturing sector today is smaller than it was in 1950.  America has become a voracious economic black hole that “consumes” as much as possible and yet actually produces very little.  The United States is becoming deindustrialized at a blinding pace, and it is becoming increasingly difficult for blue collar American workers to find jobs that will actually enable them to support their families.  The sad truth is that American workers don’t have a whole lot to actually celebrate this Labor Day.  14 million U.S. workers are “officially unemployed” and tens of millions of others have been forced to take part-time or temporary jobs that they are overqualified for just so they can survive.   Unfortunately, this is not just a temporary situation for American workers.  As millions of good jobs continue to get outsourced and offshored, Labor Day celebrations in coming years will be even more depressing.

The following are just some examples of the recent factory closings that have been sweeping the nation…. 

*Chrysler has announced that its plans to close an engine plant in Kenosha, Wisconisn are official.  The factory will be shut down for good on approximately October 8th and about 575 jobs will be lost.

*The largest milk producer in the United States, Dean Foods, says that it will close a South Carolina dairy plant in October.  That factory closing will eliminate 151 jobs.  This is just the latest in a string of factory closings for Dean Foods.  Over the past several years Dean Foods has closed factories in Michigan, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

*Continental Structural Plastics, a major producer of body panels for cars, is shutting down its plant in North Baltimore, Ohio in October and as a result 214 people will lose their jobs.

*Perfect Fit Industries (a prominent manufacturer of bedding accessories, pillows and comforters) has announced that it plans to close a factory in Loogootee, Indiana by the end of the year. As a result, 95 jobs will be lost.

*Ford Motor Company recently announced the closure of a factory that produces the Ford Ranger in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Approximately 750 good paying jobs are going to be lost.  Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty was so desperate to keep the plant open that he offered Ford a multi-million dollar incentive package full of tax cuts and job creation incentives to keep it open, but Ford rejected the offer, saying that the St. Paul plant just does not fit with Ford’s new “global” manufacturing strategy.

*The city of Breckenridge, Texas has been shaken by news that Karsten Homes notified nearly 130 employees that their local factory will be closing in two months.

*It has been announced that there will be a new round of layoffs at the Whirlpool factory in Fort Smith, Arkansas, but at this point the company is not saying how many jobs will be lost.  Whirlpool has been laying off workers at the plant steadily over the past few years as much of the work that was once done at the factory has been moved to a facility down in Mexico.

*Midcoast Aviation is closing its Savannah, Georgia factory by the end of the year.  This move will affect approximately 362 jobs.

*Federal-Mogul has been making headlamps for automobiles and for industrial use since 1954 in Boyertown, Pennsylvania, but now that era is coming to an end.  Federal-Mogual has announced that the Boyertown plant will close by the end of the year and 70 jobs will be lost.

*Duro Bag Manufacturing Co. plans to close its factory in Hudson, Wisconsin by October 22nd.  As a result, 63 workers will be without jobs.

*Quad/Graphics is the second-largest commercial printer in the United States.  It prints Newsweek, Rolling Stone, Sports Illustrated, Time and Wired magazines.  Unfortunately, times are tough for Quad/Graphics and they have announced the closing of five plants.  The facilities to be closed are located in Mississippi, Ohio, Nevada and Tennessee.  As a result of the closings, 2,200 workers will lose their jobs.

Scenes such as these are being repeated over and over and over across the United States.

What we are witnessing is the slow-motion deindustrialization of the United States.

This is very bad news for American workers, and indeed it is very bad news for all Americans, because the truth is that any economy that consumes far more than it produces does not have a bright future.

So what do you think about the deindustrialization of America?  Feel free to express your opinion by leaving a comment below….

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