unemployment

Unemployment 9.6% for September 2010

The September 2010 monthly unemployment figures are out. The official unemployment rate stayed the same at 9.6% and the total jobs lost were -95,000. -159,000 government jobs were lost and private sector jobs increased by +64,000, with 16,900 of those jobs being temporary. -77,000 of the government jobs lost were temporary Census jobs. U6, or the broader unemployment measurement, jumped up to 17.1%.

IMF - Global Employment Crisis

The schizophrenic IMF has declared the world has a global jobs crisis:

AMERICA and Europe face the worst jobs crisis since the 1930s and risk ''an explosion of social unrest'', the International Monetary Fund has warned.

''The labour market is in dire straits. The Great Recession has left behind a wasteland of unemployment,'' said IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn at an Oslo jobs summit with the International Labour Federation.

A joint IMF-ILO report said 30 million jobs had been lost since the crisis, three-quarters in richer economies. Global unemployment has reached 210 million. ''The Great Recession has left gaping wounds. High and long-lasting unemployment represents a risk to the stability of existing democracies,'' it said.

The study cited evidence that victims of recession in their early 20s suffer lifetime damage and lose faith in public institutions. A new twist is an apparent decline in the ''employment intensity of growth'' as rebounding output requires fewer extra workers. As such, it may be hard to re-absorb those laid off even if recovery gathers pace. The world must create 45 million jobs a year for the next decade to tread water.

How does this square the IMF demanding austerity measures, gutting employment benefits, wages and security? It doesn't.

A Decade of High Unemployment

If this isn't a definition of a Depression, I just don't know what is. Carmen Reinhart, University of Maryland Economist, is projecting a decade of high unemployment:

Ms. Reinhart’s paper drew upon research she conducted with the Harvard economist Kenneth S. Rogoff for their book “This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly,” published last year by Princeton University Press. Her husband, Vincent R. Reinhart, a former director of monetary affairs at the Fed, was the co-author of the paper.

The Reinharts examined 15 severe financial crises since World War II as well as the worldwide economic contractions that followed the 1929 stock market crash, the 1973 oil shock and the 2007 implosion of the subprime mortgage market.

In the decade following the crises, growth rates were significantly lower and unemployment rates were significantly higher. Housing prices took years to recover, and it took about seven years on average for households and companies to reduce their debts and restore their balance sheets. In general, the crises were preceded by decade-long expansions of credit and borrowing, and were followed by lengthy periods of retrenchment that lasted nearly as long.

“Large destabilizing events, such as those analyzed here, evidently produce changes in the performance of key macroeconomic indicators over the longer term, well after the upheaval of the crisis is over,” Ms. Reinhart wrote.

Raiding retirement just to survive

It appears especially the middle aged, you know those ones who desperately need a job and are denied, are raiding their 401ks. From Fidelity Investments Q2 2010 statistics on 401k, retirement accounts:

the percentage of participants either initiating a loan or a hardship withdrawal increased. Loans initiated over the past 12 months grew to 11% of total active participants from about 9% one year prior. The portion of participants with loans outstanding also increased two full percentage points in the second quarter to 22%. The average initial loan amount as of the end of the second quarter was $8,650 with an average loan duration of three and half years.

Frankly I thought this number would be much higher, for we have horrific stories of people posting online their suicide notes. Maybe it is because those who are going homeless already blew past any retirement savings. Regardless, a sign of the times and this is only people who have retirement savings to tap into.

Anyone Know Where We Can Find 10,600,000 Jobs?

Think about this. The U.S. needs 10,600,000 jobs just to get back to pre-recession unemployment rates. EPI:

The labor market is now roughly 10.6 million jobs below the level needed to restore the pre-recession unemployment rate (5.0% in December 2007). To get down to the pre-recession unemployment rate within four years, the labor market would have to add roughly 325,000 jobs every month for that entire period.

Even the OECD is reporting the United States needs 10 million jobs.

Creating jobs has to be a top priority for governments,” said OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, launching the report in Paris. “Cutting unemployment and fiscal deficits at the same time is a daunting challenge but it needs to be tackled head on. Despite signs of recovery in most countries, the risk remains that millions of people may lose touch with the labour market. High joblessness as the new normal can not be accepted and has to be tackled by a comprehensive policy strategy.

Even worse, the OECD estimates it's member countries need 80 million jobs!

Chart-worshipers, part-swappers, and inequality

The whispers on Wall Street lately have been the feared "double-dip".
There is a much louder chorus of people proclaiming that we are only looking at a "slow-down". Of course they were the same people who were telling us as recently as April that we were in a "V-shaped" recovery.

Generally speaking, Liz Ann Sonders agrees.
"I'm amazed people still say it's not a 'V'-shaped recovery, which to means they're simply not looking at the charts," says Charles Schwab's chief investment strategist...

Ah, yes. The charts. I have several issues with people who say things like this.

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