The 2000s, or the "ut-ohs" as a colleague thought we should name this decade back before it started, has turned out to be not so great on the employment front.
As Heidi Shierholz at the Economic Policy Institute writes:
It took longer to regain pre-recession employment levels: Nearly four years passed before the number of jobs in the economy returned to the level reached prior to the recession of 2001. By comparison, after the recession of the early 1990s, it took just over two-and-a-half years to regain peak level employment.
Employment growth remained sluggish: Over the entire business cycle of the 2000s, job growth averaged only 0.6% per year—well below what was needed to keep up with labor force growth. By comparison, over the business cycle of the 1990s, annual job growth averaged 1.8%.
The employment-to-population ratio deteriorated: For the first business cycle on record, the employment-to-population ratio declined over the 2000s, dropping by 1.5 percentage points. Over the 1990s the employment-to-population ratio increased by 1.7 percentage points.
If those statistics glaze you over, here are some to bring the tears, what with unemployment on the rise, and 8.5 million officially out of work (which is an undercount):
Only 37% of the country's unemployed received benefits in 2007, down from 55% in 1958 and 44% in 2001, according to the Labor Department. The others have exhausted their benefits, haven't applied or don't qualify.
Those who don't qualify include many part-time workers, people who quit or were fired, and workers who didn't earn enough money in a one-year "base period" that often excludes the most recent three to six months. Worker advocates say the New Deal-era system hasn't been updated enough to reflect an age of more-frequent job changes, more part-time work and falling union membership. ...
Unemployment insurance was "intended to largely support traditional male breadwinners in traditional, manufacturing-type jobs," says labor economist Lawrence F. Katz. "It's not necessarily set up for people who have multiple jobs, for people who work in and out of different jobs, for people in part-time work."
In Ohio, people filing for unemployment insurance need to have an average weekly wage of $206 -- 27.5% of the state average -- in their base period in order to qualify. That excludes many low-income workers forced to work part time, such as people at temp agencies with erratic work schedules.
Those part-timers aren't just teenagers, or college students, or moms working to "supplement" the family income. In other words, they aren't all volunteers for reduced hours. Many would like a full-time job.
The number of Americans who have seen their full-time jobs chopped to part-time work because of weak business has swelled to more than 3.7 million - the largest figure since the U.S. government began tracking such data more than half a century ago.
The loss of pay has become a primary source of pain for millions of American families, reinforcing the downturn gripping the economy.
Paychecks are shrinking just as home prices plunge and gas prices soar, furthering the austerity across the nation.
As for women, The New York Times recently reported that "for the first time since the women’s movement came to life, an economic recovery has come and gone, and the percentage of women at work has fallen, not risen." Every previous recovery since 1960 ended with a greater percentage of women at work than when it began.
The need for a new New Deal has been evident for quite some time, and every day it becomes clearer.