Friday, April 03, 2009


As the world's economic leaders meet in Great Britain for the G-20 conference, and as President Obama makes several stops through Europe, the unemployment numbers for March were released. Another 633,000 jobs were lost during last month, bringing to 8.5% the number of unemployed American workers.

From the Center for American Progress:

No Good News for Workers

The labor market continues its downward acceleration. This is now the worst recession in post-World War II history in terms of total jobs losses, the total number of unemployed workers, and the rapid pace of the contraction. It is also, as of April, the 16th month of recession, as long as any other recession in the post-World War II era. Most of the job losses have occurred in the past few months as the pace of the downward spiral continues to quicken.

net monthly job creation
Employers shed 663,000 jobs in March—the third largest one-month fall in employment since 1949. The second largest was in December 2008, and the largest was in January 2009. Total job losses are now at 5.1 million since the recession began in December 2007, and nearly two-thirds of the total (3.3 million) have occurred in just the last five months.

The unemployment rate spiked 0.4 percentage points up to 8.5 percent in March, and is now higher than at any time since 1983. There are 13.2 million people unemployed—more than at any other time in history. And 5.3 million additional people became unemployed over the past year—more than any other year since the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began tabulating this data just after World War II.


Manufacturing has shed 1.5 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007; over half of that has come in just the past four months, and 161,000 jobs were lost last month. The construction industry has lost 1.1 million jobs; more than half of that total has occurred in the past five months, and 126,000 jobs were lost last month. The temporary help industry—a harbinger of whether firms will likely hire in the months to come—has lost over three-quarters of a million jobs since the recession began, with over half of that coming in the past five months, and 72,000 jobs lost last month.

Employers are not only laying off workers—they are cutting hours as well. The average work week fell by 0.1 hours to 33.2 hours per week in March—the lowest level since 1964 when the Bureau of Labor Statistics began tabulating this data. Nearly 9 million workers reported working less than full-time due to slack business conditions or because they could only find part-time work. Such workers are at the greatest risk of losing health benefits as they may no longer qualify for their employer’s plan, but may also not qualify for Medicaid.

These numbers don't include those who are partially employed, working 20 hours or less, and those who have fallen off the unemployment rolls because their funds have run out and haven't found new employment. When these part-time workers and the non-funded unemployed are added in the total jumps to 15.6 percent.

No work, no money, and no health/medical insurance...and the Party of No Fucking Help unwilling to do anything except offer tax cuts for the wealthy.

There's more to the article, just click the C.A.P. title and go read the rest.

(Hat-tip to Heather Boushey at Center for American Progress)


Jacob said...

I don't think that all of this information tells the whole story, either, as important as it is.

And the word from some economists is that we haven't hit bottom yet.

We need EVERYONE in government working on the problem for this is truly a human crisis of unbelievable magnitude!

Perhaps if we cut the salaries of our elected representative to the "poverty" level and cut out their free health insurance, and other government perks, we'd see some action - even from the Repugnicans.

Well, with some of them - Repugs and Dems alike, we'd also have to cut off their income from savings, investments, board memberships, etc.

Grandpa Eddie said...

Jacob - You're right. There is no way this tells everything, especially the real human side of the effect of all of this.

I agree that if we could take away the amount that the members of Congress make and bring them down to the poverty level and took away their perks, including their savings, investments, board memberships, then maybe they would be able to see just what the rest of us have to deal with on a day to day basis. The only way that's gonna happen is if they vote to take it away themselves, which they won't do.

It would be nice, though, to see them have to live unemployment check to unemployment check.

sue said...

you didn't mention President Obama. Is he gonna help us or not? Please say he is! :-)

Grandpa Eddie said...

Sue - He's doing what he can, but right now a lot of this is sitting in the laps of those in Congress.

Nancy said...

This didn't start overnight. It's going to take some time. I suspect when all is said and done, brand new job positions will have been created and mostly 'green' jobs. The world will be a different place and if we can keep republican'ts out of office, we may be able to progress forward and not backward. Anyone in their 20's and 30's should all begin to get educations in anything enviromental, i.e. hybrid cars, new energy sources, agriculture, advances in computer technology and engineering. All of us over 50 won't get that chance, but we can still take advantage of the up and coming in some way. Just my opinion! :)

Bustednuckles said...

The official numbers here in Washington State are double digits.
Places like Detroit are even worse.
Obama needs to throw out the bullshit formula they adopted under Reagan and put reality out there.
What ever the "Official" unemployment
rate is should be doubled and anyone who even bothers to watch the news has to acknowledge that .

I see where they are talking about a Ten percent official rate by the end of the year.
That is comparable to the unemployment rate of 1933.

Either way, the Republicans will still want a tax reduction for the 2 % of billionaires paying to keep them in front of the headlines on a weekly basis.

Grandpa Eddie said...

Bustednuckles - Until they get rid of the Reagan formula and release the REAL numbers, the rest of the country won't realize what's really happening to the work force.

It's time for that top 2% who are billionaires to start giving back to the working people, and their families, who have made the wealthy even more wealthy through their blood and sweat. This can be done one of three different ways, 1)willingly, 2)through taxes, or 3)through force...which would be a last resort.

Grandpa Eddie said...

Nancy - Yes, education is the key here, not just for the 20 and 30 year olds, but also for us "mature" types.