Numbers paint bleak picture for job market

Published 9:27 am Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The labor report released for September reiterates two facts that Americans already know — the economic recovery has stalled and current economic policies have failed.

We hear regularly that the unemployment rate is high. But what does this mean at the individual level?

I want to share with you a snapshot of the jobs situation in America. These numbers are staggering. But they aren’t just statistics and figures.

Behind each number is a face and a story. Behind each number may be an individual with a college degree who cannot find good, honest work. Or a family who may be struggling to pay their electric bill each month because they cannot afford to cut their grocery budget any more. Behind each number is a business owner who may be forced to consider laying-off yet another employee, or face the potential of closing the doors.

Here is a look at jobs in America by the numbers:

• 9.1 percent—The unemployment rate for the month of September—the same rate as August and the second highest monthly level in 2011. Only two out of the last 29 months have seen unemployment below 9 percent. From March 2009 through September 2011, unemployment has averaged 9.4 percent.

• 32—The number of consecutive months the unemployment rate has been at or above 8 percent — the level the current administration said unemployment would never reach if the “stimulus” was approved.

• 13.9 million—The number of unemployed Americans looking for work in September, an increase of 25,000 from August and the second highest number of unemployed workers of any month in 2011.

• 2.2 million—The number of net jobs the economy has shed from February 2009 — when the “stimulus” was signed into law — through September 2011. On average, the economy has lost 69,656 jobs each month over that span.

• 15.1 percent— The official poverty rate in 2010 according to the Census Bureau—up from 14.3 percent in 2009. This was the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate and the highest poverty rate since 1993.

• $46.2 million—In 2010, 46.2 million Americans were in poverty, up from 43.6 million in 2009 — the fourth consecutive annual increase in the number of people in poverty. The number of Americans in poverty in 2010 is the largest number in the 52 years in which poverty estimates have been published by the Census Bureau.

• 45.3 million—The number of Americans receiving food stamps as of June, the third month in history with more than 45 million food stamp recipients.

• 40.5—The average number of weeks it takes for job seekers to find a job — the longest average time that Americans have been unemployed since the statistic was first recorded in 1948.

• 34.2—The number of hours in an average work week in September, down from 34.3 hours in June and July, a sign of a greater slowdown in activity than economists had expected.

• 9.2 million—The number of Americans who worked only part time in September because they could not find full time employment, an increase of 444,000 from August. The number of people working part time for economic reasons reached 8 million for the first time in history in February 2009, the month the “stimulus” was enacted, and has remained above 8 million for 31 consecutive months.

The government has tried its hand at job creation by pouring money on the problem, picking winners and losers in the industry, and imposing stifling regulations. It has not worked. And American families and businesses are the ones getting burned. Individuals, entrepreneurs, and companies will be the entities to create jobs, not the government.

We have a lot of work to do.