Archive for the ‘Our Recession/Depression’ Category

New Story: Serena: For Want of a Degree . . .

image of blackberry smart phoneAfter 22 years as a successful contract manager, often working 24/7, Serena has had plenty of interviews but no job offers since losing her position 10 months ago. Although she has a supportive, employed husband, health insurance, and other resources, it’s the “no job offers” that she struggles with the most. “What I find most challenging is that I’m not even given the opportunity to fight for a job.” As with previous stories, you can always get there from the More Stories tab up top, or in the Pages section on the right.


Here Comes the “D” Word Again: Depression

Not since the Collapse of 2008 has the “D” word – Depression – been used this much in the media. The bank bailout and credit bailout and the stimulus money all served to bring us back from the dead, and by mid-2009 the “D” word had all but disappeared, replaced by the Great Recession.

image of Great DepressionBut now, after two years of entrenched long-term joblessness, housing prices at their lowest since the 1930s, and other signs of weakening, the “D” word is back. “Is the U.S. headed for another Great Depression?” Canada’s Globe and Mail asks. Just a week ago, a CNN poll revealed that nearly half of all Americans fear we are headed for another Great Depression in the next year. And in The New Republic, economist Dean Baker argued “disaster not averted” in his article, “The Latest Jobs Numbers and the Very Real Chance of Another Great Depression.”

For the jobless – especially those over 50 – it’s been a Great Depression all along.

What’s Wrong – or Right – with This Picture?

Today I stumbled across UC Berkeley economist Brad DeLong’s blog, which had this chart in the header, but too small to read. So I clicked to see a larger version – the version you see here. It came from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. It shows the ratio of civilian (not military) employment to the population as a whole. It’s possibly of the adult population, I can’t tell; but no matter.

The main point is this: it’s the percentage of the population that is employed, from 2005 till now.

I think we can all figure out why Professor DeLong put that red circle where he did. We all felt it. We’re all living it. Employment tanked in 2009 – and stayed tanked. It’s stuck at the bottom, like we are.

Chart: Employment-to-Population Ratio

Civilian Employment-Population Ratio, from the Federal Reserve of St. Louis

New Section: Your Stories

The new Your Stories section features exactly that: your stories, submitted to New Hard Times via the new Tell Your Story form. The first story comes from Arlington Heights, Illinois, from a communications specialst who has “tried everything” to find a job. She survives – barely – with a part-time retail job and a few freelance writing projects. Contrary to government and media reports of an upturn in the economy, her “in the trenches” report says things have gotten worse.

“Mancession” Is Hardest on Black Men

image of black man at a job fair

Spencer Platt / Getty Images

Despite what Newsweek and Daily Beast say, the “Mancession” has hurt black men, not white men, the most. According to MSNBC, at 17 percent, unemployment for black men is double that of white men, and double what it was three years ago.

New Story: “What’s a Fiftysomething to Do?”

In More Stories, Bianca L. tells hers. Bianca has been self-employed most of her life. Now she finds herself underemployed, probably for the long term, because the economy has decimated both her new wellness consulting clientele and her high-paying “fallback” market. “I immediately got it that I may never get another job.” Read her whole story. 

image of money

Bernanke: Long-Term Unemployment Worst Since WWII

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said out loud what we already know: Long-term unemployment is the worst since the Great Depression. (He said since World War II, but that really means since the Great Depression.) Some 45 percent of all unemployed have had that status for at least six months.

“We are digging ourselves out of a very, very deep hole. We are still something like seven million-plus jobs below where we were before the crisis,” he told reporters.

Yes, indeed.