It’s the Jobs Stupid: Why There will be no Recovery until Employment Stabilizes. When Obvious Financial Truth Becomes Uncommon. New Nurses Competing with Old Nurses for Hours Because of Gender Unemployment.

It should be rather obvious that without any sustained job growth there will be no economic recovery.  In the same breath, you will have someone tell you that this is no common recession yet when it comes to talking about the stock market they will tell you that in normal times, stocks recover before jobs.  That is true if this were your run of the mill recession.  It is not.  When you have five states like Oregon, Rhode Island, Michigan, South Carolina, and California all having unemployment and underemployment over 20 percent then you know the unemployment situation cuts deep and wide.  With massive market volatility that has sent the S&P 500 rallying 40 percent in only 4 months.  That is not normal.  Most Americans intuitively know that without a broad based job recovery, there is little reason to believe this recession is close to being over.

Let us look at how widespread unemployment is across the country:

zerohedge-jobs

*Source:  Zero Hedge

The current nationwide unemployment rate is 9.5 percent.  Yet if we look at the broader U-6 number, we will see that unemployment is closer to 17 percent.  What does the full employment situation look like?  Well let us break down the numbers to give you a better sense of what this is:

employment situation

All said, we have about 26,000,000 Americans fully out of work or underemployed.  Things actually get tougher when you realize that many people are unemployed for much longer times as well.  Those who are long-term unemployed (meaning they have been jobless for 27 weeks or more) has surged to 4,400,000.

Mass layoffs are also still in record territory.  Mass layoffs occur when a single employer will be laying off 50 or more individuals.  This is an important measure because it shows deep contractions in the overall industry instead of targeted niche layoffs.  In June, we had 2,763 notices of mass layoff action:

mass-layoffs

You’ll notice that manufacturing layoffs are pushing the overall trend up.  I know that the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve are concerned with Wall Street and banks but little is being done to improve the employment situation for the average American.  This is disconcerting.  Most Americans depend on employment and to the vast majority, their job is the economy.  Yet what targeted effort is being taken to compensate for the 6,000,000+ jobs that have been lost since the recession started in December of 2007?  Don’t you think that a concentrated effort on jobs is more important than dumping trillions into the banking casino?  I think most Americans that are laid off already understand what it means to be in economic chaos; the chaos many were told would unfold if we didn’t give banks untold billions.  Yet here we are with 26,000,000 unemployed and underemployed Americans.

The job losses have been broad and are hitting each category:

job-sectors

You’ll notice that the two biggest sectors hit were manufacturing and professional/business service.  These are higher paying sectors in relation to leisure and hospitality for example.  The only sector that saw some growth was education and health services but even in these areas, with government cutbacks we know job losses will be occurring here.  And this is telling.  Normally education and healthcare are the last bastions of hope in a deep recession but that is not the case anymore.  Even secure jobs like nursing are coming under fire:

“(Market Place)  A lot of people go into nursing for security. That was part of the draw for 32-year-old Narayan. The former filmmaker was told Hopkins nursing grads often got hired, sight unseen. The reason: hospitals desperately need nurses. Now Narayan doubts there ever was a nursing shortage.

Narayan: I’m like “What shortage? I can’t get a job.” That’s really the case. I’d cry but I can’t. I just want to laugh about it.

There are still job openings for nurses. But vacancy rates nationwide are lower than they have been for years, says Peter Buerhaus. The Vanderbilt University professor is lead author on a recent study of the nursing labor market. He says in the last two years a record number of nurses have returned to full-time hospital work.”

And this is occurring because men have taken on a large part of the layoffs and many women are having to go back to work to recoup lost hours for their family balance sheet.  That is the case in the nursing profession.  Many experienced nurses who might have worked a few shifts are now taking on more shifts to make up for lost hours by their spouses:

“That’s the story with Cynthia Yates. She’s been a nurse for 23 years. She’s trying to rebuild her family’s savings, in part because of her fiancee’s career.

Cynthia Yates: He’s in real estate. So one of us had to have a steady position.

Yates used to be a freelance nurse for the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. Better pay, more flexible hours than being on the hospital’s payroll. But last summer, her hours started to get cut, as staff nurses gobbled up the time. Yates says by fall, the situation got grim.”

It’s all about the jobs.  Without a stabilizing employment picture there is little hope for a sustained recovery.

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7 Comments on this post

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  1. car loan rates guy said:

    Exactly. The jobs will be the focus of this recovery – without jobs, we won’t have one. A lot of people believed Obama when he said there would be 3.5 million new jobs to replace the ones we lost. We haven’t seen any thus far so don’t hold your breath.

    As long as people have stable employment, they can weather the storm until market conditions get better and their homes regain some value, but now we all know that isn’t happening.

    July 28th, 2009 at 4:18 pm
  2. Barak said:

    We have jobs available on our free job board.

    July 29th, 2009 at 5:11 am
  3. Ken Nawoschik said:

    Where did a lot of these jobs go? China and India. Corporate America does not give a damn about US Citizens at all. It’s all about profits and the greed and selfishness that is the motivating factor. I’m an unemployed research chemist and can’t get a job simply because I’m a US Citizen. Companies prefer cheap labor that they can hold over a barrel (ie, those on H1B work visas’s). Something needs to be done about the hiring practices of US companies.

    July 30th, 2009 at 4:57 am
  4. harry canary said:

    There is only a shortage if the price (wage) goes up. That is the classical definition. When there is a pretend shortage of fund managers supposedly supply and demand makes their salaries and bonuses go into the stratosphere. If there is tight supply and high demand for nurses why don’t we see seven and eight figure bonuseslike for the finance shysters?

    I work as and engineer. I have been fed the same garbage about a shortage of engineers. Yet when I have suggested that supply and demand should make the wage go up I was told it does not work that way. It is all just a rigged game and a scam.

    July 31st, 2009 at 6:54 am
  5. Gry Dla Dzieci said:

    Unemployment is a terrible thing. I remember the times when in my country the unemployment was on level over 20%. That was something disturbing to know that one fifth of my entire country has no job. Now the situation is a lot better but still far from being great.

    August 4th, 2009 at 4:32 am
  6. Bob said:

    I keep hearing that unemployment is a lagging indicator and also that it doesn’t matter even if consumer spending is less because american businesses will simply make and sell their goods overseas as the situation here deterioates and don’t need american employees or consumers. This will keep the stock market rally going in full swing. What do you think of that argument?

    September 9th, 2009 at 4:11 pm
  7. Heather said:

    All I know is, my husband and I are losing faith. I have been out of work for almost a year and a half. He was told last Thursday that he’s out of a job after next week. Unemployment benefits in Georgia are a joke. We won’t be able to cover all our bills and will be moving in with my parents and I’m 34 years old. This is ridiculous. I’m starting to think I have no future at all. What’s the point anymore?

    September 23rd, 2009 at 8:14 pm

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