Home > political-economy, shorter work time > Forget about unemployment coming down in your lifetime…

Forget about unemployment coming down in your lifetime…

Zero Hedge: Unemployment projections to 2015

Forget about unemployment coming down through fiscal and monetary stimulus in your lifetime. There isn’t enough money in the world to fix this problem.

Above is a chart created by the blog Zero Hedge with a chilling projection on when employment will return to pre-recession level.

The chart starts at the National Bureau of Economic Research’s officially designated date for the beginning of the recession in December 2007. The NBER asserts the recession ended 18 months later in June 2009 — when, as you can see on the chart, employment had not only not recovered, but was still falling unchecked.

In the dotted line on the chart Zero Hedge projects that the total number of people employed will reach the 2007 level again about five years from now. They also note, for the record that this total will not include all the new people who will come into the labor force during that period.

This means, even when employment reaches its pre-recession peak, an unemployed population equal to all the people who entered the labor force in the eight years between 2007 and 2015 will still be unemployed.

To put it another way: even if we get back to pre-recession levels by 2015, an additional 16 million people will have been added to the unemployment rolls.

Sixteen million additional unemployed is larger than the total number of jobs lost in this recession.

It gets worse: according to Spencer England at the blog Angry Bear, the average length of an expansion after a recession since 1950 has been 52 months. This means, based on the NBER’s call, we should be going into recession again sometime in 2013 — when employment will not have recovered even to its 2007 level.

Your congressperson and senator need to know these figures.

And, you need to know when they are going to sponsor legislation to reduce hours of work so it can be fixed.

  1. Joss
    December 8, 2010 at 11:50 am

    Thanks for this.

    That 2013 date reminded me that it’s likely there will be a global ‘oil crunch’ between 2012-2014, so if nothing else, this will send many oil importing countries into recession.
    Production from around 2012 will be reliant on newly developed or as yet undiscovered oil fields, which are unlikely to be ready in time.

    The US tends to go into recession when oil prices hit the equivalent of around $85/barrel.

    We can think of oil as complementary to (as well as a replacement for) labour-power and therefore a primary source of value. If there’s a shortage of labour power, the price/wage goes up, but there’s a point ($85?) when the price is too high for Capital to create the surplus value it requires to continue to accumulate without fundamentally restructuring. Sufficient technological efficiency measures for an oil shortage take a long time to implement (20 years?), so there’s likely to be an extended period of economic decline in importing countries like the US and UK, for example, which some analysts reckon will be about a 1:1 ratio of oil production decline and GDP. Global oil production is expected to decline about 4%/year.

    I agree that a reduction of working hours is desirable, if not inevitable. I look forward to it.

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