[Marxism] Economist on this Jobless Recovery

johnaimani johnaimani at earthlink.net
Tue Aug 17 12:35:42 MDT 2010

American unemployment
Lower, not hire

    How jobless is this recovery?

Aug 12th 2010 | /Washington, dc /

THE American economy is in unfamiliar territory. Not since records began 
has so deep a recession been followed by so shallow a recovery in 
employment. New jobs figures, released on August 6th, tell the tale. In 
July the economy added just 12,000 jobs after adjusting for temporary 
census work---too few to keep up with population growth or to reduce the 
unemployment rate. Slightly _fewer Americans are working now, a full 
year into recovery, than when the recession ended in the middle of 2009._

A comparison with previous recoveries is unflattering (see chart). 
Hiring was weaker in the aftermath of the relatively mild downturns of 
1990-91 and 2001, when the unemployment rate topped out at 7.8% and 6.3% 
respectively. But this recession, in which the unemployment rate hit 
10.1%, was much more severe. From peak to trough more than _8m jobs were 
lost. As many Americans are working now as in November 1999_.

Severe recessions typically produce strong labour-market recoveries. 
Employment sprang back by 3.5% in the 12 months following the end of the 
deep 1981-82 downturn. When the economy started growing again in March 
1933 the employment bounceback was springier still. No such turnaround 
has emerged this time. The American economy has seen downturns this 
severe and recoveries this jobless but never the one on top of the other.

If growth continues, it may soon lead to more hiring. The second quarter 
of 2010 brought an end to a run of five consecutive quarters of 
extraordinary productivity growth as _firms generated more output with 
fewer workers_. That strategy may now be running out of road. Between 
April and June businesses sharply increased the number of hours worked 
by employees, which is often a prelude to hiring new workers. But there 
is an awful lot of ground to make up.

Text and Graph at:


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