533,000 Jobs lost in November. Meltdown is here.
We have lost 2 million jobs in the US economy this year.
WASHINGTON - Skittish employers slashed 533,000 jobs in November, the most in 34 years, catapulting the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent, dramatic proof the country is careening deeper into recession.
The new figures, released by the Labor Department Friday, showed the crucial employment market deteriorating at an alarmingly rapid clip, and handed Americans some more grim news right before the holidays
"These numbers are shocking," said economist Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economics Advisors. "Companies are sharply reacting to the economy's problems and slashing costs. They are not trying to ride it out."
After the fold, Barack Obama's statement
"The 533,000 jobs lost last month, the worst job loss in 34 years, is more than a dramatic reflection of the growing economic crisis we face. Each of those lost jobs represents a personal crisis for a family somewhere in America. Our economy has already lost nearly 2 million jobs during this recession, which is why we need an Economic Recovery Plan that will save or create at least 2.5 million more jobs over two years while we act decisively to maintain the flows of credit on which so many American families and American businesses depend.
"There are no quick or easy fixes to this crisis, which has been many years in the making, and it's likely to get worse before it gets better. But now is the time to respond with urgent resolve to put people back to work and get our economy moving again.
At the same time, this painful crisis also provides us with an opportunity to transform our economy to improve the lives of ordinary people by rebuilding roads and modernizing schools for our children, investing in clean energy solutions to break our dependence on imported oil, and making an early down payment on the long-term reforms that will grow and strengthen our economy for all Americans for years to come."
I agree with Obama: We must take advantage of this crisis to make real changes that are needed to create a more fair and more successful economy. The Reagan-Bush model failed completely. We need a people-centered economy. People and Profits, not Profits over People.
I wrote yesterday about the call for a big stimulus by many economists, both liberal and conservative:
Kenneth Rogoff, a Harvard University professor who was an adviser to Republican presidential candidate John McCain, and Joseph Stiglitz, a Nobel Prize winner who served in President Bill Clinton’s White House, are among those who say President- elect Barack Obama should push for a package of that size.
"They need a stimulus of $500-to-$600 billion a year for at least two years to counter what is going to be a collapse in consumption," said Rogoff, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund.
"Congress should think in terms of $900 billion in 2009, with possibly more in 2010," said James Galbraith, a self-styled liberal economics professor at the University of Texas in Austin who has talked with the Obama transition team about the issue. "I may be higher than they are at this point," he said, "but things are evolving."
New Jersey Governor Jon Corzine said Washington needs to step in because the U.S. is caught in a "liquidity trap," where repeated interest-rate cuts by the Federal Reserve fail to boost the economy because banks don’t want to lend and skittish consumers and companies don’t want to borrow.
"If the government doesn’t operate to fill that gap, we are going to see not only rising unemployment but a shockingly high level of unemployment over the next 12 to 24 months," Corzine said in Bloomberg Television interview yesterday. He called for a stimulus of "overwhelming force."
Obama is signaling that the stimulus must also build a new economy.
This is what I want to hear. I have a lot more confidence that Obama will create real change after this statement.
Update I: More indications that the Obama administration will go BIG on the stimulus amount:
Jared Bernstein, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington who was named today as chief economist and economic policy director to Vice President-elect Joe Biden, said the unexpectedly high number of job losses indicates any stimulus to combat the recession likely will have to be larger than originally anticipated.
"The job market is under extreme duress," Bernstein said in an interview. "It’s fair to assume that the upper bound on a stimulus package is going up, not down."