A blog about living in Aberdeen, New Jersey.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Jobless Figures Aren't the Only Gauge of the Status of Our Economy

My wife remarked the other day that more itinerant workers are spending more time in front of the Quik Chek in Matawan lately waiting to get hired for the day. So what's happening with the economy? Here are some interesting quotes from a recent New York Times article that will give you a sense of where things stand:
  •  “You can’t look at 9.7 percent unemployment and say that’s anything but a tragedy,” said Christina D. Romer, who leads the president’s council of economic advisers.
  • The Times article said the Labor Department's January report found that "the economy lost 20,000 net jobs during the month", "underscoring the formidable struggles still confronting millions of Americans."
  • As of January, 6.3 million have been out of work for six months or longer, the highest level since the government began tracking these data in 1948.
  •  The unemployment rate reached 16.5 percent among African-Americans, 12.6 percent among Hispanics, and 26.4 percent among teenagers. “African-Americans and Latinos continue to bear the brunt of this economic recession,” Representative Maxine Waters, Democrat of California, said in a written statement.
  •   The Times article says, "Some envision the jobless rate reaching nearly 11 percent by the end of the year, which would raise the prospect of new shocks to the system: a retreat in consumer spending and renewed fears in the banking system as jobless people lose the wherewithal to pay their mortgages." 
  • Others see the economy beginning to improve. Joshua Shapiro, chief United States economist at MFR Inc. in New York, is less optimistic, expecting any improvement to the economy would happen very slowly.
  •  On the positive front, the Times said, "Manufacturing added 11,000 jobs in January, the first monthly increase since November 2007, while the length of the average workweek rose slightly at factories. The economy added 52,000 temporary workers, and average wages increased modestly, amplifying the view that commercial activity is reawakening after two years of hibernation." And the jobless rate dropped slightly, back into single digits, but still much higher than the Obama administration ever expected to see.


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