SFGate.com: As of August 2014 three million Americans had been unemployed for more than six months. Over two million have been unemployed for more than a year.
The only incremental improvement: the percentage of those out of work and looking for the past six months or more has declined, from 46% of the total unemployed in 2010, to 33 percent now. In California (excepting the Bay Area’s bubble economy) the percentage is closer to 40 percent.
The plight of the long term unemployed — highest in the 45-59 age group – remains “among the most persistent, negative effects of the Great Recession.” In percentage terms, it’s still the highest since the Great Depression, says the John J Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University in a report published today.
The long-lasting trend indicates ”that the ranks of the long-term unemployed may remain high for months or years even if the economy continues to improve,” says the report based on a survey of 852 employed and unemployed workers between July 21 and August 3.
Close to half of those who have found jobs are being paid less, working part-time, or otherwise experiencing “a step down” from their job 5 years ago.
Their living standards, and feelings about the present and the future, are very much in line with earlier findings on the mood of American workers.
CNS News: The number of women who were unemployed in the United States climbed 180,000 in March, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
In March, there were 4,850,000 unemployed women, 180,000 more than the 4,670,000 American women were unemployed in February, according to BLS.
At the same time, the unemployment rate for women rose from 6.4 percent in February to 6.6 percent in March.
To be counted as unemployed, a person must have actively sought a job in the last four weeks and be part of what BLS calls the civilian noninstitutional population (meaning a person is 16 or older and not on active duty in the military or in an institution such as a prison, mental hospital or nursing home).
The number of American women who had jobs dropped 133,000 from February to March, declining from 68,458,000 to 68,325,000.
From February to March, the number of women in the civilian noninstitutional population increased by 84,000, climbing from 127,779,000 to 127,863,000. Of those 127,863,000 women in the civilian noninstitutional population, 73,175,000 participated in the civilian labor force, meaning they either had a job or actively sought one in the past four weeks. That put the labor force participation rate for women at 57.2 percent in March–the same as it was in February.
There were also 54,688,000 women who did not participate in the civilian labor force in March, meaning they neither held a job nor actively sought one. That was up by 36,000 from the 54,652,000 women who were not in the labor force in February.
WSJ: 22.9%:The unemployment rate for Americans under age 25, adjusting for the decline in the labor force since the start of the recession.
Perhaps no group has been hit harder by the recession and grinding recovery than the young. The official unemployment rate for those under age 25 is 16.2%, more than double the rate for the population as a whole. In percentage terms, unemployment has fallen far more slowly for young people than for the wider population.
Those figures actually understate the severity of the problem, however. The government only considers people “unemployed” if they’re actively looking for work. People who stop looking—whether they’re retired, in school, raising a family or living on friends’ couches — are instead considered “not in the labor force,” even if they would prefer to work given the opportunity.
When the recession began in December, 2007, 59.2% of the under-25 population was in the labor force, meaning they were either working or looking for work. Today, that figure has fallen to 54.5%. That may not sound like a big drop, but it makes a huge difference. If the so-called participation rate had remained unchanged, there would be 1.8 million more young people in the labor force today than there actually are.Counting those people as unemployed, rather than out of the labor force, would push the unemployment rate up to 22.9%. That’s only a hair better than the 23.9% youth unemployment rate in the euro zone, and has shown only very modest improvement during the recovery.
The decline in the participation rate among the young can’t all be attributed to the recession. Labor force participation among young people peaked at just under 70% in 1989, and has trended downward ever since, primarily due to rising rates of college attendance.
The decline accelerated during the recession, as many young people sought refuge in college or other forms of education or training. In a normal cycle, that might have worked out well, leaving a generation of highly educated workers ready to re-enter the job market when the economy recovered. Instead, they have been graduating into a labor market that remains deeply challenged, especially for those without much work experience. To make matters worse, many graduates are carrying hefty debt burdens, and those who can find work are often being forced to low-skill jobs.
Four days ago, I did a post on major national retailers like J.C.Penney, Sears, and Best Buy that will close stores in 2013. Here’s more evidence that there’s no economic recovery and that the POS is making the economy worse.
Executives at Wal-Mart are worried about poor sales this month — the worst in seven years. They attribute the poor sales to shoppers being hit by Obama taxes, an increase in the jobless rate, and an anemic economy. The US economy actually had a negative growth rate of -0.1% in the last quarter of 2012! Renee Dudley reports for Bloomberg, Feb 15, 2013, that internal e-mails obtained by Bloomberg News indicate that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. had the worst sales start to a month in seven years as payroll-tax increases hit shoppers already battling a slow economy.
Jerry Murray, Wal- Mart’s vice president of finance and logistics, said in a Feb. 12 e-mail to other executives, referring to month-to-date (MTD) sales: “In case you haven’t seen a sales report these days, February MTD sales are a total disaster. The worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”
Wal-Mart and discounters such as Family Dollar Stores Inc. are bracing for a rise in the payroll tax to take a bigger bite from the paychecks of shoppers already dealing with elevated unemployment. The world’s largest retailer’s struggles come after executives expected a strong start to February because of the Super Bowl, milder weather and paycheck cycles, according to the minutes of a Feb. 1 officers meeting Bloomberg obtained.
Murray’s comments about February sales follow disappointing results from January, a month that Cameron Geiger, senior vice president of Wal-Mart U.S. Replenishment, said he was relieved to see end, according to a separate internal e-mail obtained by Bloomberg News.
In a Feb. 1 e-mail to executives, Geiger asked: “Have you ever had one of those weeks where your best- prepared plans weren’t good enough to accomplish everything you set out to do? Well, we just had one of those weeks here at Walmart U.S. Where are all the customers? And where’s their money?” Both executives, Murray and Geiger, attributed the performance to increased payroll taxes and delayed tax returns, which Geiger called “a potent one-two punch,” according to the e-mails.
About $19.7 billion more in tax refunds had been delivered to shoppers by this time last year, according to an analysis prepared by Wal-Mart’s Global Customer Insights & Analytics division that was attached to Murray’s e-mail on Feb. 12. The retailer expected returns to be delayed by three to four weeks because of the late release of tax forms and additional, federally mandated tax-fraud scrutiny. When a payroll-tax break expired Dec. 31, Americans began paying 2 percentage points more in Social Security taxes on their first $113,700 in wages. For a person making $40,000 a year, that is about $15 a week. The extra tax bite is about equal to a year of car insurance for a family making $30,000 or a basket of groceries per month for a family making $50,000, according to Wal-Mart’s analysis.
Other retailers who court low-income Americans also are bracing for the rising taxes.
Higher payroll taxes “go against our customers’ wallet,” Family Dollar Chief Executive Officer Howard Levine said on a Jan. 3 conference call. “Clearly, they do not have as much for discretionary purchases than they did.”
At a Feb. 1 officers meeting (the minutes of which were attached to Geiger’s e-mail), Wal-Mart U.S. CEO Bill Simon cited negative economic growth, declining consumer confidence and rising unemployment as challenges facing the company. The U.S. economy shrank at a 0.1% annual rate in the fourth quarter, and the unemployment rate rose 0.1% to 7.9% in January. The Conference Board’s measure of consumer confidence declined last month to the lowest since November 2011.
Even with a slow January, however, Wal-Mart is gaining market share steadily, Simon said. “That points to our competitive landscape, which means everyone is suffering and probably worse than we are. We have to fight against the tougher economic environment to earn a bigger share of a smaller consumer spending pie.”
Wal-Mart fell 3.3% to $68.46 at 2:12 p.m. in New York and earlier slid as much as 3.8% for the biggest intraday decline since Nov. 15. The shares rose 14% in the 12 months through yesterday, compared with an 8.5% gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
Wal-Mart spokesman David Tovar said in an interview: “As with any organization, we often see internal communications that are not entirely accurate, that lack the proper context and represent individual opinions.”
Asked by CBS’ news anchor Charlie Rose to reflect on the past 3½ years as POTUS, this is what the POS said:
“When I think about what we’ve done well and what we haven’t done well, the mistake of my first term – couple of years – was thinking that this job was just about getting the policy right. And that’s important. But the nature of this office is also to tell a story to the American peoplethat gives them a sense of unity and purpose and optimism, especially during tough times.”
National debt of nearly $16 trillion, which now exceeds America’s GDP.
An economy that continues to ail, its decreasing jobless rate due only to the increasing numbers of American who have given up trying to find work.
An administration that rules by fiat, via executive orders, administrative rules, and “czars” who were never approved nor confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
A President who still conceals many of his documents, including even his kindergarten school records, and whose birth certificate image and Selective Service registration are suspected to be forgeries according to the investigation of an elected county sheriff.
A Congress that passed into law a healthcare bill that may be unconstitutional, and a National Defense Authorization Act that makes it lawful to arrest and detain U.S. citizens without charge or trial.
A media and Black leaders who twist, exploit, and outright misrepresent the facts of a tragic shooting to inflame racial tensions.
Despite all these signs, and more, millions of Americans seem deliberately uninformed, obdurately ignorant, and blithely unconcerned about what has and is happening to our country. We call them sheeple.
Are you frustrated by the Slumber of the Sheeple?
We, the writers of Fellowship of the Mind, certainly do and have made it our quest to tell the truth and hopefully waken the sheeple.
All that is the subject of the Brandon Smith’s “Understanding the Slave Mentality,” for Alt-Market.com. He calls the sheeple’s slumber the Slave Mentality — “unconscious desire for collectivism and control”.
In the long excerpt from his article (below), Smith explains and offers 7 signs of the slave mentality.(I inserted the numbers 1-7.)
The rest of Smith’s long article is his analysis of the dismissal of anti-Obama Marine Sgt Gary Stein and whether soldiers should forfeit their constitutional free speech rights. For that analysis, go here. ~Eowyn
By Brandon Smith – Alt-Market.com – April 2, 2012
In the initial stages of nearly every recorded tyranny, the saucer eyed dumbstruck masses exhibit astonishing and masterful skill when denying reality. The facts behind their dire circumstances and of their antagonistic government become a source of cynical psychological gameplay rather than a source of legitimate concern. Their desperate need to maintain their normalcy bias creates a memory and observation vacuum in which all that runs counter to their false assumptions and preconceptions disappears forever. It is as if they truly cannot see the color of the sky, or the boot on their face. The concrete world of truth becomes a dream, an illusion that can be heeded or completely ignored depending on one’s mood. For them, life is a constant struggle of dissociation, where the tangible is NOT welcome…
This is the problem that we in the Liberty Movement deal with most often in our writings and films. Our confrontation with willful ignorance has been epic, even by far reaching historical standards. The gains in social awareness have been substantial, and yet the obstacles are incredible. Unprecedented. As an activist trend, we have an almost obsessive drive to draw back the curtain so that the public has at least the opportunity to see what is on the other side.
[…] But what are the signs of this unconscious desire for collectivism and control? What makes a slave do what he does? Here are just a handful of explanations to consider… 1. The True Slave: The true slave is not a person who has been shackled, beaten, tortured, and made to comply under threat of death. As long as that poor soul has the spirit of rebellion and is ever seeking freedom, they are not imprisoned fully. The true slave is a person who enjoys their subservience, who is weighted with fear by the very idea of independence from the system, and who would actually fight and die to maintain the establishment which enslaves them. The true slave is not able to imagine living any other life beyond his micro-managed existence. 2. The Facts Lose Value: The worst flaw of the slave is not necessarily his ability to overlook the truth, but his ability to see it, comprehend it, and then shrug it off anyway because it is contrary to his mission to fulfill his private delusions. For the slave, the truth exists, but is no longer useful. Lies make his universe turn, and facts are a tool to be used or cast aside at his leisure. 3. The Obsession With The Law: The slave mentality, though illogical and psychotic, still requires a certain foundation to hold it together. The laws of governments tend to suffice. These laws may go completely against the force of inherent conscience, but because the slave has already abandoned listening to his inner voice of reason, this does not bother him much. If you have ever wondered why modern tyrannies always feel the need to put their horrific enforcements in writing first, THIS is why. Oligarchs understand that the law provides the slave with a means to rationalize his participation in the crimes of the state. After all, if some gut-bloated bloodthirsty elitists in government etch their mad inbred ramblings into law, then we have no choice but to follow them, right? 4. The Need To Be Accepted: A slave seeks harmony not within, but without, even when that “harmony” is with a system that is designed to destroy him. The viciousness of collectivism lay in its ability to comfort converts with atrocity. As long as the slave feels as though he is a part of the machine, and accepted by the group, he cares not what the machine does to others. Common arguments include; “We all have to live together, and so we must sacrifice our selfish individualism for the greater good…” or “Governments are here to protect us and we should do everything we can to make their job easier…” Rarely if ever do they question if the system is legitimately helpful or harmful. The system just “is”, it fulfills their need to be coddled, and that is good enough for them. For all their talk of “unity” and the “greater good”, collectivists are for the most part deeply selfish. They do not support or participate in the collective for the sake of others. They do it to satiate their personal desires. 5. The Need For Control: I suppose it’s ironic, but the average slave loves tyranny because it affords him a perceived seat at the table of power, perhaps for the first time in his entire life. Collectivist slaves are often people who have felt weak and inadequate since childhood. While honorable human beings fight this personal uncertainty by strengthening themselves physically and mentally, and improving upon their own character, the slave takes the easy route by joining with bureaucracy and living vicariously through its conquests. Through the state, the hollow, cowardly, and stupid, have the ability to “show the world who’s boss”, and get revenge for a life filled with meaninglessness. 6. The Need For Structure:An individual takes responsibility for himself, learning over time to provide his own structure which works at his pace and serves his unique needs. A slave does not have the energy or the drive to do that, and so, he asks the establishment to tell him how he should live. He will hold at face value the word of nearly anyone in a position of petty authority. When confronted with those who go their own way, or who rebel against the cookie-cutter template for social participation, the slave sneers in disgust. Independent rebellion is abhorrent to him, because the system provides him with his very identity. To insult the fabric of the system is to insult who he is. It’s pathetic, but common… 7. The Need For Vindication: Sometimes it is not enough for certain people to have their own world view. The slave seeks approval for his world view at every turn, even if that world view is twisted by bleary eyed logic, and will go so far as to force others to agree with it so that they can feel safer in their beliefs. It is natural for people to seek out others with similar views and ideals, but, it is not natural or healthy for those same people to use the government apparatus as a weapon to frighten the rest of us into submission just so they can become more confident in their ludicrous slapdash philosophies. Slaves want a world without contradiction. Laughably, everything they do is a contradiction.
In the Jan. 6 Bureau of Labor Statistics news release, the unemployment rate was reported to have fallen 0.2 percent to 8.7 percent, as revised for November 2011.
Williams recreates a Shadow Government Statistics alternative unemployment rate reflecting methodology that includes “long-term discouraged workers” that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (in 1994 under the Clinton administration) redefined those considered “unemployed.”
The BLS no longer considers as “unemployed” those workers without jobs who have not looked for work in the past year because they feel no jobs are available.
Williams has demonstrated that it takes an expert to truly decipher BLS unemployment statistics. For instance, in Table A-15, titled “Alternative measures of labor underutilization,” the BLS reports what is known as “U6 unemployment.” U6 unemployment includes those marginally attached to the labor force and the “under-employed,” those who have accepted part-time jobs when they are really looking for full-time employment.
While the BLS was reporting seasonally adjusted unemployment in December 2011 at only 8.5 percent, it was also reporting U6 seasonally adjusted unemployment in December 2011 was 15.2 percent.
The only measure BLS reports to the public as the official monthly unemployment rate is the seasonally adjusted U3 number.
Williams calculates his “Official SGS Alternative Unemployment Rate” by adding back into to the BLS U6 numbers those long-term discouraged workers who have not looked for work in the past year.
Interestingly, Williams’ “Official SGS Alternative Unemployment Rate” shows unemployment in December 2011 was 22.4 percent, the same as in December 2010, whereas the BLS figures were designed to report nearly a one-point decline, from a seasonally adjusted U3 rate of 9.4 percent in December 2010 to a 8.5 percent rate in December 2011. ~Tom in NC
America’s battered housing market is heading for a triple-dip and has even further to fall before home prices really hit rock bottom, reports Les Christie for CNNMoney, Oct. 31, 2011.
According to Fiserv (FISV), a financial analytics company, home values are expected to fall another 3.6% by next June, pushing them to a new low of 35% below the peak reached in early 2006. That means if you had bought a house in 2006 for $300,000, your house will be worth only $195,000 next year.
Several factors will be working against the housing market in the upcoming months, including an increase in foreclosure activity and sustained high unemployment, explained David Stiff, Fiserv’s chief economist.
Should home values meet Fiserv’s expectations, it would make it the third (and lowest) trough for home prices since the housing bubble burst.
The first post-bubble bottom was hit in 2009, when prices fell to 31% below peak. The First-Time Homebuyer Credit helped perk prices up by mid-2010, but by the time the credit expired, prices fell again.
In the second dip, which was reached last winter, prices were down 33% before staging a mild rallythat was artificially spurred as banks slowed the processing of foreclosures following the robo-signing scandal, which found that loan servicers were rapidly signing foreclosures without properly vetting them.
Now that the scandal is mostly resolved, lenders are speeding more cases through the foreclosure pipeline and back onto the market, weighing on home prices even further.
Earlier this month, RealtyTrac reported the first quarterly increase in foreclosure filings in three quarters. Even more discouraging: new default notices were up 14%.
There’s also a “shadow inventory” of homes in foreclosure that have yet to go back onto the market.
Thespecter that those foreclosed homes could flood the market at any time and drive prices significantly lower is a huge concern, said Mark Dotzour, an economist for Texas A&M University. “That’s the elephant in the room,” he said, noting that there are 6 million home currently in shadow inventory.
Many of the regions that will be hardest hit were already beaten up during the previous two dips:
Naples, Fla., for example, is expected to take the biggest hit of any metro area, a price drop of another 18.9% by the end of next June, according to Fiserv. Home prices in the area have already fallen 61% from the peak.
Las Vegas is expected to see home prices fall another 15.9% for a total loss of 66%; Riverside, Calif., is projected to fall another 14.8% (for a total decline of 61%); Miami is expected to decline by 13.2% (total loss: 57%), and Salinas, Calif. could drop by another 13% (for a total loss of 66%).
There will be some winners, however, led by Madera, Calif. and Carson City, Nev., which will each gain 15.5%. That’s some consolation for hard-hit residents: The average home ineach of these metro areas has lost more than half its value. Other metro areas Fiserv expects to recover nicely are Yuma, Ariz. (up 9.5%), Yuba City, Calif. (9.2%) and Farmington, N.M. (8.3%). Even after the housing market begins its comeback in mid-2012, the recovery is predicted to be modest at best. Nationwide, Fiserv is projecting that home prices will climb just 2.4% between June 2012 and June 2013.
The biggest winners are expected to be:
Ocala, Fla.,with a 22.4% spike for the 12 months ending June 30, 2013. Ocala was one of the hardest hit communities in the U.S. over the past several years, with home prices falling some 50%.
Napa, Calif., which Fiserv projects will improve by 20.9% over that same period.
Panama City, Fla. (an estimated 18.2% jump).
Bremerton, Wash. and Carson City, Nev. (both expected to see home prices climb 17.9%).
12. From 1948 until 2007, the average duration of unemployment was 13.5 weeks. Today, it’s 40.5 weeks. 11. “Just 1 in 7 U.S. workers is of normal weight without a chronic health problem,” according to TheWall Street Journal, citing Gallup data. 10. According to TheWall Street Journal, “every year 17,000 American-trained masters and doctoral students leave the U.S. to find work elsewhere.” 9. Over the past 25 years, college tuition has increased at nearly four times the rate of broader inflation. 8. 5.5 million Americans are unemployed and not receiving unemployment benefits. Last year, that number was 1.4 million. 7. The U.S. government provides health care for a minority of its population (elderly and poor) at a greater cost per citizen than many European countries spend on universal coverage. 6. Total state and local pension shortfalls now equal $4.4 trillion, according to State Budget Solutions. 5. According to TheNew York Times, only 23% of Americans benefit from the mortgage interest tax deduction, yet 93% support it. 4. Nationwide real estate values have declined by about $7 trillion since 2006. 3. According to the National Review, General Motors has 96,000 employees but provides health benefits to a million people. 2. Only 2.7% of what Americans spend their money on are goods and services from China. 88.5% is on American-made goods and services. 1. America is still by far the largest economy in the world, nearly three times the size of China’s or Japan’s economy, and nearly five times the size of Germany’s. We have the best schools, the deepest financial system, the most advanced innovation, and the brightest entrepreneurs.
From Morgan House, “50 Amazing Numbers About the Economy,” The Motley Fool, Oct. 21, 2011.
H/t beloved fellow Joseph. ~Eowyn
It appears more and more economists are beginning to think so.
Via marketwatch.com: By Howard Gold NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — Slowly, over the last year, it’s begun to dawn on us: The economic recovery isn’t really making a dent in unemployment.
The public knew this much earlier than economists or pundits did, and as for politicians — don’t ask!
Survey after survey showed Americans didn’t believe the economy was recovering. And people who commented on MarketWatch articles have been downright hostile to any notion that either the markets or the economy were getting better.
But economists need hard data before changing their minds. And over the past few months, more and more of them have concluded that indeed the depth of this particular recession and its roots in the financial crisis have combined with structural changes in the economy to push the so-called “natural” unemployment rate in the U.S. permanently higher. Read Howard Gold’s analysis “White-Collar Recession, Blue-Collar Depression” on MoneyShow.com.
If they’re right, it would be bad news for millions of Americans whose prospects are bleak enough already. It also would make the U.S. economy more like the Europe we’ve routinely derided — without the social safety net European countries typically provide.
I hope I’m wrong and the fabled American ingenuity in which I strongly believe — and whose most shining star, the great Steve Jobs, died last week — kicks in with new fervor.
But it looks increasingly like that will not be a panacea this time around, either.
Listen to Charles Plosser, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, in a speech a couple of weeks ago.
“These numbers are troubling, especially when more than 40% of the unemployed, or some six million people, have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer,” he said.
“Millions of unemployed workers may take longer to find jobs because their skills have depreciated or they may need to seek employment in other sectors. These structural issues will take time to resolve. Jobs and workers will need to be reallocated across the economy, which is a long and slow process.” A structural change
Did you catch the word structural? It was no accident. Here’s Atlanta Fed president Dennis Lockhart in a speech two days earlier.
“To me, it is not clear to what degree structural factors are impeding the filling of job vacancies,” he said.
“And… it is not clear to what extent the long-term unemployed are becoming a class of permanently unemployed, creating a problem resembling the so-called structural unemployment of some European countries.”
Again, notice the use of the word structural — twice. And note how Lockhart speculated about a “class of permanently unemployed” which he compared with “some European countries.”
When top officials start speaking like this within days of each other, something’s up. You will find the rest of the article at this link.
Mr. Gold goes on to correctly identify the horrible housing market as being one of the impediments to economic recovery. I have long felt that real estate, both commercial and residential, have always been one of the main underpinnings of our economy, as you could always count on prices to at least remain steady, if not actually go up – regardless of the economic conditions.
We do not have that anymore, and as someone who spent over twenty-five years in a related industry, I do not see it coming back anytime in the near future, as I believe we are looking at at least a decade for this to flesh itself out – perhaps even longer.
Gold also mentions that companies are sitting on piles of cash but are not hiring. I wish he had expanded on this a bit, as I think one of the main reasons is that employers are uncertain about, and not a little scared of, massive government regulations that are beginning to come on-line, both the ones that are known as well as what may be coming down the road but are yet unknown.
One thing is certain – as long as the current administration remains in power, there is not going to be any economic recovery to speak of, and it is beginning to look to me like another major downturn is just around the corner.
Better hang on tight, because I think we are in for a long, hard ride. -Dave