A Lost Decade

With the unemployment rate at a 26-year high, the private sector has now lost jobs over the past decade. This represents the worst private sector job creation since the Great Depression. Since August 1999, 223,000 jobs have been lost. The population of the United States has grown by 33.5 million people. Naturally, these tremendous job losses are hindering consumer spending and slowing down any economic recovery.

In July, 372 metro areas reported higher unemployment and 19 metro areas now have unemployment rates over 15%. Of these 19 areas, eight are in California and five are in Michigan. Detroit’s unemployment rate is a whopping 17.7%.

Shockingly, more than 35 million Americans or one in nine people, received food stamps in June, which is up 22% from a year ago and a new overall record. June was the seventh straight month in which food stamp rolls set a new record. The average food stamp benefit was $133.12 per person.

Most states now face declining tax revenue and are shutting down offices to save money. State offices are closed on Friday in California, Maine, Maryland and Michigan. On Friday’s, Californians can’t renew their driver licenses. In Wisconsin, you can no longer order copies of your birth certificates.

For political and practical reasons, states have been reluctant to lay off workers. Instead, furloughs have become the hot trend in budget management, in part because the savings are “easy math” to state officials.

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