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The jobs emergency

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  • Twelve thousand new jobs in July -- when 125,000 are needed monthly just to keep up with population growth, when more than 15 million Americans are out of work, and when more than a half-million more state and local jobs are on the chopping block.
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  • Predictably, Washington's latest rescue effort falls woefully short
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  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
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  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program.
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Robert Reich, Robert Reich

bdunnette / CC BY 3.0

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Washington’s latest answer to the worst jobs crisis since the Great Depression is $26 billion in aid to state and local governments. This still leaves the states and locals more than $62 billion in the hole this fiscal year. And because every state except Vermont has to balance its budget, the likely result is 600,000 to 700,000 more state and local jobs vanishing over the next 12 months (including private contractors and other businesses that depend on state and local governments), according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Say goodbye to even more of the teachers, firefighters, sanitary workers and police officers we depend on.

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In July alone, state and local employment dropped 48,000. Not counting temporary census workers, the federal government shed 11,000. So with private payrolls increasing a paltry 71,000, July’s overall increase in payrolls was just 12,000.

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Related:

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U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

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  • Adjusting for demographic factors, current labor market downturn steeper than '82-'83 recession.
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  • The Horror Show
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Obama's Hollow Victory, Joshua Green, The Atlantic

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  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program. That's nothing to brag about.
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  • Robbing Peter to Pay Paul
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Obama's Hollow Victory

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  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program. That's nothing to brag about.
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  • Robbing Peter to Pay Paul
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Joshua Green, The Atlantic

On Tuesday (Aug 6), President Obama signed a $26 billion bill to help state and local governments cover Medicaid payments and avoid having to lay off teachers and other public employees. In what passes for high drama in Washington, the House of Representatives was called back from its summer recess to vote on the package, and the successful outcome was hailed as a major Democratic victory. "We can't stand by and do nothing while pink slips are given to the men and women who educate our children or keep our communities safe,'' Obama said. "That doesn't make sense.''

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No, it doesn't. But only by the occluded standards of contemporary Washington could this aid package be considered a victory. What began three months ago as a $50 billion emergency spending bill limped to the president's desk at half that size and was largely paid for -- "offset'' in the clinical terminology of the budget -- by cutting $12 billion from the food stamp program. In other words, a measure designed to help one group struggling in the recession came at the expense of another that is even worse off -- and growing rapidly.

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Updated: U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression

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  • Adjusting for demographic factors, current labor market downturn steeper than '82-'83 recession.
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  • The Horror Show
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Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR)

As the nation contends with a long and sustained labor market recession, a new study from the Center for Economic and Policy Research demonstrates that the current unemployment rate is higher than the conventional measure shows.

"An unemployment rate that has hovered above 9 percent for several months is striking, but the jobs picture is even worse than it looks," said report author and CEPR Economist David Rosnick.
The study, “The Adult Recession: Age-Adjusted Unemployment at Post-War Highs,” <http://www.cepr.net/index.php/publications/reports/the-adult-recession> adjusts the current unemployment rate to account for demographic differences and finds that the unemployment rate has not fallen below 10.8 percent in the last 12 months. During the worst episode of the recession of the 1980s -- the second half of 1982 and the first half of 1983 -- unemployment passed 10 percent for 7 months.

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Related:

The Horror Show, Bob Herbert, New York Times | NY

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  • Policy makers seem intent on allowing the employment crisis to fester. As bad as the July employment numbers were, a deeper look into them shows a seriously scary situation.
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  • Long-Term Economic Pain
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  • Jobless? Your leaders are at ease with that
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The jobs emergency, Robert Reich, Robert Reich

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  • Twelve thousand new jobs in July -- when 125,000 are needed monthly just to keep up with population growth, when more than 15 million Americans are out of work, and when more than a half-million more state and local jobs are on the chopping block.
  • \r\n

  • Predictably, Washington's latest rescue effort falls woefully short
  • \r\n

  • U.S. Experiencing Worst Episode of Prolonged Unemployment Since Great Depression
  • \r\n

  • An aid package to the states to prevent layoffs was funded by cutting the federal food stamp program.
  • \r\n

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United by Hard Times: Workers Organize Across Race Lines

A tough economy makes cross-race organizing more important than ever.

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Carlos Jimenez, Yes! Magazine

Carlos Jimenez marches with Jobs with Justice at the 2007 US Social Forum. Photo by Carlos Fernandez

I’m feeling relieved. For a while it seemed like the historic election of our first African American president would give legitimacy to the idea that we live in a “post-racial” America. The idea that race is no longer a part of people’s daily experience is not merely false. It’s potentially dangerous when a majority of people are struggling to understand what’s happening to them economically.

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What people are experiencing is exactly what’s supposed to happen to them under capitalism and its current variant, neoliberalism. That economic system is grounded on the idea that society must have winners and losers. It has convinced people that those categories are based on race: that people of color are, in the natural course of things, losers; and that white people, regardless of class, are supposed to win.

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