Saturday, August 30, 2003

Labor Day No Picnic for Unemployed

More than 9 million people are unemployed - 700,000 more than a year ago.

Twenty months after the recession ended, the economy has still failed to create substantial numbers of new jobs, making this the weakest recovery since post World War II. The previous record was 13 months in 1992, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a liberal Washington think tank.

In terms of employment growth, the recovery is the worst since the Great Depression, EPI said. Employment has fallen by 1 million since the recovery began. Since the start of the recession in March 2001, about 2.7 million jobs have been lost.

Just this year, 6.4 million new workers have qualified for unemployment insurance.

Is there enough time for a turnaround in the jobs market to satisfy voters before the election?

AFL-CIO President John Sweeney doesn't think so.

"I travel this country constantly," he said. "People are very dissatisfied with the way this country is going. They want jobs and the ability to make a bread-and-butter living. They want affordable health care, and they want their basic freedoms honored on the job."

The average duration of unemployment is 19.3 weeks.

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