The economic picture is even worse than it looks and unemployment numbers are deceiving because more people have just given up looking for work, U.S. News & World Report chairman and editor in chief Mortimer Zuckerman wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed.
Zuckerman said Friday’s announced 8.1 percent unemployment figure did not reflect more jobs being created but instead was due to more people quitting their job searches, he wrote.
“The number for August reflects only people who have actively applied for a job in the past four weeks, either by interview or by filling an application form,” Zuckerman wrote. “But when the average period of unemployment is nearly 40 weeks, it is unrealistic to expect everyone who needs a job to keep seeking work consistently for months on end. You don't have to be lazy to recoil from the heartbreaking futility of knocking, week after week, on closed doors.”
Zuckerman continued, “How many people are out of work but not counted as unemployed because they hadn't sought work in the past four weeks? Eight million. This is the sort of distressing number that turns up when you look beyond the headline number.”
He noted that 96,000 new jobs were added last month but that is “well short of the anemic 125,000 predicted by analysts, and dramatically less than the (still paltry) 139,000 the economy had been averaging in 2012.”
The numbers get even worse, Zuckerman pointed out.
“The alarming numbers proliferate the deeper you look: 40.7% of the people counted as unemployed have been out of work for 27 weeks or more—that's 5.2 million "long-term" unemployed. Fewer Americans are at work today than in April 2000, even though the population since then has grown by 31 million,” he wrote.
Zuckerman wrote that the United States is “experiencing, in effect, a modern-day depression.”
“Consider two indicators,” he wrote. “First, food stamps: More than 45 million Americans are in the program! An almost incredible record. It's 15% of the population compared with the 7.9% participation from 1970-2000. Food-stamp enrollment has been rising at a rate of 400,000 per month over the past four years.”
“Second, Social Security disability—another record. More than 11 million Americans are collecting federal disability checks. Half of these beneficiaries have signed on since President Obama took office more than three years ago,” Zuckerman wrote.TT
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