Sunday, September 13, 2009

Where are the jobs?

Recently, many economic experts have been saying that the worst of the recession is behind us. If the recession is not already over, then it is in its final stages, which will likely lead to a brighter 2010.

If this is true, it is definitely good news. It has been a turbulent last year or so. The banking industry, the auto industry, our 401Ks, and a whole lot of other areas have taken it on the chin.

Everybody has suffered in some way it seems like. However, there is one missing piece to the puzzle. If the economy is recovering, where are the jobs?

Last week, it was announced that our national unemployment rate for August was 9.7 percent. This was a jump of three-tenths of a percent, and it was higher than expected. Most economists were expecting an increase of only one-tenth of a percent.

August's rate was a 26-year high, and many experts have said this rate will continue to grow.

"It's good to see the rate of job losses slow down," said Nigel Gault, chief U.S. economist at IHS Insight in a recent interview with the Associated Press. But "we're still on track to hit 10 percent (unemployment) before we are done."

If unemployment is going to rise for the foreseeable future, it is hard to get excited about the talk of economic recovery.

It must be noted at this point that it is understood that unemployment is a lagging indicator when it comes to determining whether our economy is coming out of a recession. After all, employers have to be confident things are getting better before starting to hire people.

Although this may be the case, how can we be more optimistic about the economy when the amount of unemployed people stands at 15 million and continues to grow?

For example, the new unemployment rate of 9.7 percent does not take into consideration the number of people who have settled for part-time jobs or those who have given up looking for a job altogether. Depending on the source a person goes by, the 'underemployment' rate in the country may actually be as high as 16.8 percent.

Additionally, between now and the end of the year, it is believed that 1.3 million unemployed people will lose benefits. This means they will have exhausted all the benefits available to them. They will be left with nothing.

At this point, I believe it is appropriate to start holding the Obama administration more responsible for what we are seeing. In the president's defense, he inherited a mess. I wrote in this column previously that we did not get into this mess overnight, and it would take time for things to improve.

Well, the time for accountability has arrived. In a week, President Obama will reach the nine-month anniversary mark of his administration. This means his term will be about 20 percent complete.

He is one-fifth of the way through his term, and despite giving his policies ample time to impact the economy, it is apparent unemployment will continue to worsen.

In recent weeks, we have seen repeated examples of citizens holding politicians responsible for policies that are being presented. If we are genuinely in a season of accountability, then more accountability has to be applied regarding unemployment.

Finding a job and providing for one's family is one of the most fundamental needs of a person. If the government unsuccessfully oversees a marketplace and the result is a loss of jobs over a long period of time, then there is something wrong in the approach.

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