Economists generally define full employment in the USA as the condition that prevails when unemployment percentages dip below six percent. With the release of this morning’s Employment Situation Summary from the US Bureau of labor statistics, which shows a job gain of 120,000 for November, and unemployment dropping to 8.6%, that means it could take as long as a decade to reach that state! Although it’s nice to hear of some job gains and dropping unemployment numbers, it remains a case of “too little, too slowly” for recent upticks to make a significant difference in the overall employment situation.
It looks like we’re going to limp into 2012, employment-wise, just as we’ve pretty much limped through the whole year of 2011, with rates at or above 9 percent for every month of the year except for February and March. If this doesn’t argue forcefully for as much government intervention to boost employment as the Republicans can stand, I don’t know what does. It seems that some kind of public works and infrastructure development programs should be kicked off, in addition to as many incentives to get private concerns hiring again as possible.
It’s now been over three years since the downturn struck in 2008, and we’re looking at a fourth anniversary next year. What we’ve tried so far has saved the financial system and kept things from going completely over the brink. Isn’t it time now to try to move the economy toward a better employment situation with all of the tools at our disposal? Gosh, I certainly hope so.
Call me a proponent of big government, an interventionist, or even a dyed-in-the wool Democrat. I don’t care. We’ve got to do something to accelerate employment and improve our overall profitability and productivity. It’s the only way out of this employment mess that I can currently see.
[Note: as I was filing this blog the US Bureau of Labor Statistics website was completely unavailable, whether from excessive traffic or some other problem, I can’t tell. But when I can access the report directly (my source for this blog was The New York Times) I’ll add some discussion of IT related stats and changes.]