The Jobs Crisis
December 14, 2009
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The lack of jobs has finally become a political issue. The president even had a jobs conference.
The problem with job discussions to this point is that the experts talk as if the fundamentals of our economy are sound and all we need are some short-term interventions (tax cuts, business subsidies, etc.) to tide us over until things get moving.
This is a problem because if we are talking about job creation (rather than profit creation) the fundamentals of our economy are not sound. To be blunt, private profit-making activity is increasingly not job creating activity.
As Business Week points out: during the 1970s and 1980s it generally took less than 10 months after the end of a recession to add back the jobs lost during the recession. It took 23 months after the end of the recession that ended in 1991. And it took 39 months after the recession that ended in 2001. Many experts are predicting it could take as long as 60 months to add back the more than 8 million jobs lost during this (recently ended?) recession. And that does little to employ those entering the market now.
If we are serious about job creation we need to begin talking about how best to directly create jobs, and jobs that allow people to earn a living wage producing (in a sustainable manner) the goods and services that we actually need. It is either that or resign ourselves to ever growing structural unemployment and the associated negative consequences (or collateral damage as we now tend to say).