We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
The answer that I keep gravitating to is that despite the 4.9 percent unemployment rate, the job market is still pretty weak, and probably malfunctioning in some way. This isn't the only possible answer...
The real unemployment figures are closer to depression levels than they are to the official government numbers. Food stamps are at record levels which is really the equivalent of very long food lines not seen since the great depression. Our stock market is pumped up by endless borrowing and printing press money but even that is showing signs it will soon regress towards the mean. Our interest rates are unbelievably low as though the FED is trying to fend of a catastrophe and they have been unbelievably low for about 7 years now as though the catastrophe simply won't go away or correct. What does a great depression look like if the government has the ability to hide the food lines, disguise the real data and continuously prop up the market??? I think it looks like Obama's hope and change.
Yes, Real Unemployment is about 10%. We've seen worse, but it's not good.
My worry of worries is that as more and more jobs are automated, it's the people with the lowest levels of skills, including even those who are willing to work, who will be scrambling for fewer and fewer jobs they can do.
Assistant Village Idiot
All true. But let's not mention the over-quota immigrants being ushered in from third-world countries. Black workers are being displaced the most - how come they are such reliable Democrat voters?
There are sites that compute the "real" unemployment rate, computing under the old methodology without it having been manipulated by the Labor Department, as has been done since the Clinton Administration. The real unemployment rate right now is 22.5%.
The figures you see now are totally manipulated, just like the figures for inflation. Among other things, the Labor Department simply makes assumptions as to who "should" be working, even if they don't have data to support it.
Although I'm a Canadian, there's another element at play here that I think affects Americans as well.
Up to about a generation ago, if you wanted to work, and were prepared to do any kind of work, you could apply and get employment with a minimum of fuss.
Now even the most basic unskilled labour can require navigating through minefields of bureaucratic red tape and satisfying seemingly endless picayune certifications of this, that or the other.
What really annoys me is the degradation of the high school diploma. If a young person who graduates from Grade 12 cannot simply enter the workforce and obtain the most baseline employment without some additional "college" qualification then the judgment is obvious: our elementary- and secondary-school education systems are a complete failure.
Back when, if the numbers didn't meet standards, these charlatans would change the standards. That was bad enough, but now if the numbers don't meet standards, they change the numbers. Reprehensible. And it has spread as far as hard science. Only mathematics seems to be immune, so far.
As a small business owner [very small!] I agree that regulations are killing us. There's no way I'd take on an employee these days. [And don't get me started on how difficult taxes are this year.] As for young people in the work force, I have two older teens who had to apply several times just to get hired as shelvers at the local library. When the first got hired, she was the youngest [at 19] by far. They hired 20 people in her batch, with the mean age in the 30s. 16 year olds have to get a permit to work in this state and most of them don't bother because they couldn't get a job even shelving books at the library. It's ridiculous. And bodes ill for the nation.