Frank Wallace who has been unemployed since May of 2009 is seen during a rally organized by the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, in Philadelphia, Wednesday, June 23, 2010. Initial claims for jobless benefits fell by the most in two months last week, but remain above levels consistent with healthy job growth. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke) (Matt Rourke)

We're even deeper in the hole

The unemployment picture isn't getting better and the need for another major stimulus is urgent


Robert Reich
August 6, 2010 7:37PM (UTC)

This originally appeared on Robert Reich's blog

The economy is still in a deep hole, and we’re not climbing out.

Remember, we need 125,000 new jobs per month simply to keep up with the growth of the American population seeking jobs. But according to this morning’s jobs report, private-sector employers added just 71,000 jobs in July. (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ revised report for June, private employers added only 31,000 jobs in June.)

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In other words, the hole keeps getting deeper.

(Government Census workers who had been hired in the spring have been let go over the last two months, and shouldn’t really be included in the trend-line calculation. But for the record, 143,000 lost their jobs in July. That leaves about 200,000 Census workers still knocking on doors. Most of them will lose their jobs in August and September.)

The only slightly bright news is that manufacturing payrolls increased by 36,000 in July, but those gains are almost surely going to evaporate in August. Manufacturing expanded in July at the slowest pace of the year as orders and production decelerated.

All this blur of numbers means two things: An extraordinary number of Americans are still hurting. And it’s more important than ever for the US government to step in with a larger stimulus that puts more people to work (a WPA, for example), and tax cuts for people who will spend them (a two-year payroll tax holiday on the first $20K of income).

We cannot get out of this hole without major federal action.


Robert Reich

Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written 15 books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's also co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism."

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