Politicians from both sides of the aisle have placed creating jobs on the backburner and have moved on to other issues, thus abandoning the one-sixth of American workers that are either unemployed or underemployed, says Nobel economist Paul Krugman.
No new jobs bills have come from the White House or from members of Congress, and all leaders seem to care about is cutting spending, which doesn't seriously fuel economic growth and employment, Krugman says.
"Part of the answer may be that while those who are unemployed tend to stay unemployed, those who still have jobs are feeling more secure than they did a couple of years ago," Krugman recently wrote in his New York Times column.
"Layoffs and discharges spiked during the crisis of 2008-2009 but have fallen sharply since then, perhaps reducing the sense of urgency," Krugman said.
While the official unemployment rate came to at 8.9 percent for February, data from the Gallup polling agency puts the figure at 10.2 percent for mid-March, which was basically unchanged from 10.3 percent at the end of last month.
Gallup reports that unemployment in mid-March was higher than the 10.0 percent from mid-February and the 9.8 percent at the end of January.
The U.S. unemployment rate is about the same today as the 10.3 percent rate Gallup found in mid-March a year ago.
Underemployment, a measure that combines the percentage of part-time workers wanting full-time work with the percentage who are unemployed, came to 19.9 percent in mid-March.
"Not surprisingly given the lack of change in its components, identical to the end-of-February reading, and is virtually the same as the 20.0 percent of mid-March a year ago," Gallup reports.
Results are based on a 30-day rolling average.
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