Well, that was a little surprise the Labor Department tossed out there. The economy added about 150,000 jobs in October, a number well above expectations, and the first overall positive number since May. So, it’s a step in the right direction, of course. But it just claws back some of what we lost over the summer, and you have to wonder how much of it was seasonal hiring.
The weaknesses, the imbalances, the plain old reckless greed that led to the recession didn’t build up over a year or two. These are factors have been building up for decades, as good-paying jobs have been shipped overseas, replaced by lower-paying jobs, as workers took on more and more debt to make up for what they’d lost in wages, as the financial sector leveraged the money it had over and over to make riskier and riskier bets, as more and more regulations that protected people were stricken from the books in the name of financial innovation.
It took a long time for that to all build up, and it will take a long time until we are past the effects of that earthquake.
Take a look at this site, Over 50 and Out of Work. Kristina Peterson sent us the link. Now, I know enough people who have lost their jobs since the recession hit three years ago, too many in fact, and I doubt there’s anybody who doesn’t know at least one person who lost their jobs to the recession. But this site just hammers home the serious damage this recession inflicted. Most of the people interviewed, from what I’ve seen, have been out of work for more than a year, and the damage to their is such that they’re likely to spend their “golden years” working just to recoup what they lost.
One of the oddities of this recession is that it’s been in some ways invisible. You don’t see people waiting on unemployment lines, because these things are done online. You don’t see people waiting outside soup kitchens (although they are there.) But this site shows you the damage the recession inflicted.
I don’t know who’s behind this site or what the motivation is, but if it’s to pull your heartstrings, it works. Stan Bednarczyk is over 60, who grew up around the steel industry in Youngstown, Ohio. “I was introduced to downsizing very early in my career,” he says. He talks about the day it happened. “I remember grown men crying,” he says.
The sad thing is, right there, he’s talking about a couple decades ago.