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View Diary: The Swan is still Black, and We're Still Screwed (212 comments)

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  •  They are the "hidden" unemployed (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenearth, phonegery, xaxado, lgcap

    or underemployed (people who need to work full time but can only find part-time work). The phone survey isn't sufficient to capture the actual numbers, but it does indicate the problem. Different states provide unemployment insurance for different periods of time (some states it is 16 weeks, some use 24 weeks, some - like South Carolina - have fewer weeks). Once that time period is up, there is no way to count the people who still didn't find a job, so it is projected from the number who report being unemployed on the last week they drew unemployment. These people are assumed to have "given up" looking for work.

    That is an imperfect method, in part because it is built on a model that reflects a reality quite different from the one we are inhabiting. Another method of estimating is drawn from the number of jobs being cut. That is an actual number that is reported, but still doesn't reflect reality. In many companies (and higher education is particularly susceptible to this) actual positions are flexible. So a factory may report cutting X number of jobs, but a university just doesn't fill positions. They are still "on the books" because that is an integral part of empire building at a university, but they aren't going to be filled because they are soft money, and there isn't much soft money lying around.

    This is why things "feel" worse than the numbers show. People know other people who are still looking for work after a year. People know there are unfilled positions in their workplace, probably because the workloads have increased, but no one dares complain.

    ManfromMiddletown has done an heroic job trying to explain and quantify some of the reasons things may, indeed, get worse yet. The numbers are out there, but as he noted, it is time consuming to extract them. Shrub's administration did a lot to make it harder by changing the way the data were collected and reported. Now you not only have to go back to raw data, but you have to be able to analyze it and know how the models themselves were manipulated. If they had not done that, shrub's administration would probably have shown net job losses.

    A lot is riding on the decision to let CIT fail. They may rescue it, but I am not sanguine about it. If it fails, that may be the feather that pushes commercial real estate over the cliff Atrios has been pointing at for nearly a year.

    Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber. ---Plato

    by carolita on Sat Jul 18, 2009 at 10:32:21 AM PDT

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