The economy is doing worse than you think.


So, no, one month of “only” 350K lost jobs is not enough to make me optimistic that everything is going to turn around, even slowly.

But guess what, it’s worse than that. Every month under normal conditions (ha) the US economy has to produce something like 120-150,000 jobs just to keep up with the natural growth in the labor force from rising population. So that 350,000 job lost, ostensibly turning the corner, is really half a million jobs short of what we need just to stay in the same place. And every time you hear about the number of jobs lost during the recession, mentally add another million and a half or two million people who would have found newly-created jobs under normal conditions, and haven’t been.

(There’s a tiny bit of a twist here, namely that the labor force, the number of people the Bureau of Labor Statistics thinks actually want to be employed, has been shrinking, as it often does in recessions. But that’s not because fewer people need or want jobs, it’s because millions of people look at the market and the odds of actually finding paying work and say, “screw it, I’ll collect social security/file for disability/keep piling up school loans/live on someone’s couch for another year/give up and squat in an abandoned house/anything but keep up the futile search for a job.”)

Update Nov 5: Just how bad is the economy? So bad that someone shilling for a call center body shop would take the time to write comment spam soliciting disabled people to sign up with them. On a post that has had 4 views ever.


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