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Unemployment Scars Likely to Last for Years

The U.S. job market is showing signs of a sustained recovery. But the country’s prolonged struggle with unemployment will leave scars that are likely to remain for years, if not generations.

The latest labor-market snapshot, out Friday, gave cause for continued, if tepid, optimism. U.S. employers added 200,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate ticked down to 8.5%, its lowest level since early 2009.

But economists gathered here for the American Economic Association’s annual convention took a longer and generally dimmer view. Even if recent progress continues, the recession already has had a lasting effect on a generation of workers. Worse, the crisis has laid bare problems in the U.S. labor market that won’t quickly recover when the economy eventually rebounds. And the longer that unemployment remains high, the greater the risk that it will create structural problems that will endure.

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  • Jim Laubscher

    This is an understatement if I ever heard one. We have very few machinists in our country as so many businesses moved overseas. The whole AG industry has been strangled for so long by not paying fair prices for American farmers to grow food (to eat, not to turn into fuel), many farmers kids didn’t follow their dad in the farm. The farming labor segment is getting older. With lousy markups (thanks big grain guys,TIC) for years off farm paid more than staying put. I don’t think that segment will last for much longer. Sorry, I’m getting a little cynical (check out Micah 2:1&2), sounds just like our feckless leader taking from the homeowner to give to his friends.

  • Gordon

    Unfortunately Jim the push in schools today is to go to college, get your degree. You can see by the first year dropout rate many don’t want to be there. A good industrial arts program starting
    in the 7th grade and ending with an 2 year Community College degree in the field of their choice.
    Automotive, Machine, Building including all trades, etc. including small business management.
    With the cooperation of industry providing internships along the way.

    • Eli Jones

      Gordon, when I was in HS in the sixties, there was a class that taught shop and machinist’s skills. We need it back. I learned to weld, run a lathe, metal fabrication, run drill presses, ban saws, wood work, etc. I still possess those skills plus more that I picked up along the way. A skilled trade is a much better guarantee for a job than a college degree is.

    • Janice Palesch

      Gordon, you are so correct. I taught in a community college in the early and mid-70’s when our President insisted that EVERY person ought to have the opportunity to go to college. That was a huge waste of time and money for quite a number of those students, who simply did not have the capacity for college. The drop-out and failure rates rose when our college President established the policy of bringing in everyone. The ONLY beneficiaries I saw from this policy were the colleges, which gained a lot in the form of tuition, and student loan enterprises, who made money had over fist from the students. The taxpayers lost – and continued to lose – a LOT of tax money in the form of Pell and other grants.

      One of the biggest scams going today is people, who need extra income and who apply for student grants, attend school for the first week of so, then drop out, while spending their Pell and other grant money on junk, completely unrelated to education. I have an ex-friend, whose daughter has been doing this very thing in order to save that money for a car! You and I are paying for that, while she has NO INTENTION of getting an education. It appears that you and I will be supporting her until the day she dies.

      MANY people do NOT belong in college, but they do need to be trained for some career. Unfortunately, the supervision over these resources and the students is so poor that neither one is happening in many cases. Our thinking about ALL types of education and training MUST change. Moreover, we desperately need to bring back the factories, which provided wonderfully-paying jobs, but which have all moved to slave-wage paying countries, so that jobs exist for graduating students. Without that, our nation has lost its future.

  • Michelle

    Eli, we had shop in high school in the late ’80’s…the guys built a shed and the roof leaked the first time it got rained on…waste of money. Shop class was for the guys who were going to work at the factory that built cars, which is long since gone. Last class reunion most of those guys were working construction (wonder if they learned how to roof?), so today I’d suppose a lot of them are unemployed.

  • david

    NOT one to emmulate Europe or Japan BUT!
    They DO provide emphasis on TRADE SKILLS or academics. Major manufacturers PROVIDE MONEY and EQUIPMENT to their second tier schools (high school/community college) NOT the government or local school taxes.
    Trade UNIONS (not political THUGERIES) provide apprenticeships to those that WANT to learn that product.
    Now, the unfortunate side. Those students who want to do NIETHER wind up on the European, (not so much in Japan) dole expecting the others to provide them with a “life style” as IF they had actually contributed to anything.
    In America there is too much emphasis on academic/social interaction (ie PARTY!) in college and too little on life skills or actual achievement.
    (I have lived in Japan AND Europe..U.S.A.F..have been House Director of fraternities at a college in Indiana)

  • bob jones

    This administration has done all it can to destroy as many jobs as possible, from attacking the coal industry, to shutting down gulf oil drilling, to closing viable GM auto dealerships that had contributed to communities well being for decades, to raiding and swat teaming independent food producers, to the crippling Obamacare regulations and all their legislation aimed at rewarding their big donors and shutting down their competition and just to all the uncertainty and chaos that keeps companies from being able to hire. So nothing in the economy will ever get better until we get someone in who is actually trying to help improve things, anyone paying any attention knows none of this mess we are in has happened accidentally.

  • http://googlechrome David

    Look around your house and garage and see if you can find something NOT made in China. A large percentage of our agricultural jobs are Mexicans and also the building, bridges and highway work are Mexican. Most of our jobs are trying to sell all the foreign made products.

  • http://None BenFox

    Taking homes to give to his friends? The reverse mortage is a scam, when they take you deed of trust and the economy goes further south or the money becomes worthless, how do you buy your deed back and if you can’t, who owns it? The government run instatutions, and who gets your already paid for home? You guessed it, it won’t be you.

  • hijinx60

    I wonder if they took into account the number NOT looking for work…that have given up? Then there is the fact that November and December are months in which stores like Kmart, Walmart, and others hire people to help deal with the “seasonal rush” and inventory for taxes. We will be able to tell in a couple of months,,,,when the new numbers come out. My bet is that unemployment soars again.

  • http://mine Kenneth C Ward

    Yes it places like Walmarts that rus most everything now and get away with everything its kind sad I worked for 3 more years there very sad co to work for get away with most any thing want and use lot p I got hurt there doing Job I supose to and fried me for no reson and still waiting on some kind settlement there very sorry co work for and lots good p there but need the job but all being used

  • Dad

    After we taxpayers bailed the GM unions to the tune if billions, the Volt will most likely be manufactured in China… presently, it is unsafe and too expensive. It runs on coal, the primary fuel of electricity. What a boondoggle for the American public.

    Unions have their roots in communism… do not support unions… period.

  • R.Cook

    Our present administration has manipulated unemployment statistics in an attempt to make the American public believe that their programs are effective. However, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the total employable population since January, 2009 has grown to 240.5 million. Since then, the civilian labor force has actually shrunk by 349,000; from about 154.2 million to 153.8 million. That is a reduction of employable people over 16 years of age from 65.7 % in January 2009 to 64% in January 2012.
    The true unemployment rate should be at about 10.9 percent, and the underemployed rate at about 17.4 percent. The truth when it shows the inadequacy of government actions is often suppressed to protect those in control.

  • Larry Owens

    well according to all the Latest data/numbers (Rigged) the Job picture is going to be Rosie Nov. 2012. If you listen to the Socialist Media Propaganda every thing is just fine. They will say or do any thing to help re-elect that Sorry excuse for a President.