Fates and Fortunes

Everyone's talking about the recovery, but what about jobs?

1/12/2010 04:51:02 PM

Gratuitous plug: I’m moderating a panel at NATPE titled “Is there profit in the recovery?” (Come see me! Monday, Jan. 25 at 2:30 p.m.) I’m just as excited to talk about the recovery as the next person, granted there is one.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics today released some data informing us that there are only 2.4 million job openings in the U.S. at this time, nearly half as many as were available in June 2007, when the job market was at its peak. That’s awful news for the 15.3 million Americans who are officially unemployed, not to mention all the other unemployed people who have just given up and quit looking. I have a few friends in that boat and all I have to say is thank god for helpful parents.

Put more clearly, that’s 6.4 unemployed workers for each available job, a record high, reports The Huffington Post. Two years ago, when the recession was just beginning, there were 1.7 unemployed workers for each available job.

In December, U.S. jobs dropped by another 85,000, even though the jobless rate held around 10 percent. Analysts believe the only reason that number is holding is because of the number of people who have stopped looking for jobs altogether, reports the AP.

In our own business, AOL yesterday announced it would be cutting 1,000 jobs – probably not surprising considering AOL’s troubles. Still, it’s just another company that’s firing instead of hiring.

Speaking to CNN’s Campbell Brown on Monday night, financial guru Suze Orman predicted that the economy wouldn’t see any job upticks anytime soon.

“I don’t see a reason why the jobs should come back. And let me say why. The corporations — again, in my opinion — are finding that they’re able to be very productive without all these employees working for them anymore.

So if they can do what they’re able to do today with less people working for them, why should they hire all these employees back?”

While I’m really looking forward to talking about a recovery with TV station execs in just two weeks, what I’d really like to be talking about is all the new jobs our economy is creating. And that looks like it’s still going to take a while.

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