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Thursday, November 20, 2008


The employment news is grim

Although what caught my eye was the headline:
Jobless claims jump unexpectedly to 16-year high
Unexpectedly? Yeah, who could have seen that coming, with layoffs of thousands, or even tens of thousands, from one company after another, day after day.

Headline aside, however, the news is indeed grim, with not the slightest time for schadenfreude about how it's all Bush's fault (but plenty of time for actual truth about the nature of capitalism and its recurring crises):

The government said new applications for jobless benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 542,000 from a downwardly revised figure of 515,000 in the previous week.
The tendency of the media to report only "new applications" is somewhat understandable (it is important to understand trends), but, atypically, this particular article also gives us the actual totals:
The number of people continuing to claim unemployment insurance rose sharply for the third straight week to more than 4 million, the highest since December 1982.
And, although predictions from economists are only slightly more useful than predictions from astrologers, I have to note:
The figures likely will cause some economists to increase their projections for the unemployment rate this year. Many already expect unemployment to reach 7 percent by early next year and 8 percent by the end of 2009.
And those are the "official" figures, which we all know represent a serious undercount of the actual number of people who would be working full-time if there was work available.

It's time to get rid of this outmoded system called capitalism. Long past time.

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