Excellent news, people. Let me put it to you as a number: 8.7 million.
That’s how many new jobs the American economy has generated since the “Great Recession” officially ended in 2009 — and it also happens to be the number of jobs that were lost because of that recession. Don’t you see? You can break out the champagne, for the American economy is back, baby — all of the lost jobs have been recovered!
What? You say you don’t feel “recovered”? Well, it’s true that the U.S. population has kept growing since the crash, so about 15 million more working-age people have entered the job market, meaning America still has millions more people looking for work than it has jobs. And it’s true that long-term unemployment is a growing crisis, especially for middle-aged job seekers who’ve gone one, two, or more years without even getting an interview, much less an offer — so they’ve dropped out of the market and are not counted as unemployed. Also, millions of young people are squeezed out of this so-called recovery — the effective unemployment rate for 18-29 year olds is above 15 percent, more than double the national rate of 6.3 percent.
But take heart, people, for economists are telling us that full employment may be right around the corner. Is that because Congress is finally going to pass a national jobs program to get America working again? Or, could it be that corporate chieftains are going to bring home some of the trillions of dollars they’ve stashed in offshore tax havens to invest in new products and other job-creating initiatives here in the USA?
No, no — don’t be silly. Economists are upbeat because they’ve decided to redefine “full” employment by — hocus pocus! — simply declaring that having 6 percent of our people out of work is acceptable as the new normal. Wow — and you thought American ingenuity was dead.
This opinion column does not necessarily reflect the views of Boulder Weekly.