Center for American Progress

The labor market slump has created a vicious cycle for the U.S. economy:
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The labor market slump has created a vicious cycle for the U.S. economy:

Today’s employment report which showed job growth in October of 126,000 jobs is certainly good news after the past three years of consistent job losses. Job growth is always better than no job growth, but a closer look shows that the overall labor market picture remains dire:

• 1.3 million private sector jobs lost since the end of the recession in November 2001.

• 3 million fewer private sector jobs than in March 2001, when the recession began.

• Even the recent job gains have made up for only 9 percent of the private sector job loss that has taken place under the Bush administration.

• Even if jobs continue to be created at October’s rate, by the end of President Bush’s term, the economy will still have lost 1.2 million private sector jobs – the worst record since the Hoover administration.

• Manufacturing continues to shed jobs. In October, employment in manufacturing lost 24,000 jobs, and is down 480,000 for the year to-date. This continues the prolonged employment collapse in this crucial sector that started in March 1998. Since then, manufacturing has lost more than 3 million jobs.

• 8.8 million people are still unemployed.

• Nearly one in four unemployed workers – more than 2 million people – has been out of work for more than half a year. There is no other period on record when, this far into a recovery, the share of long-term unemployed has been so high.

• The share of the working-age population that is employed rose only slightly to 62.2 percent after hitting its lowest level since 1993 in September.

• 4.8 million workers who want full-time jobs are working only part time – 32 percent higher than when the recession began.

• The number of people who want jobs but are not in the labor force increased to 4.9 million in October, up 450,000 from pre-recession levels.

• Because economic growth is not strong enough to generate the millions of jobs necessary, wages and salaries are not growing fast enough to boost consumption.

• Inflation-adjusted wages and salaries declined by 0.1 percent in the third quarter.

• Without rising wages supporting it, the consumption growth that has sustained our economy will fall. Retail personal spending in September fell by 0.3 percent – the first decline in eight months and the largest decline in a year.

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