Job-growth numbers not growing

Steve Henn Nov 2, 2007


Lisa Napoli: Later this morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics releases September’s unemployment numbers. It’s been stuck around 4.7 percent for months. Marketplace’s Steve Henn says job-seekers are increasingly glum about their prospects.

Steve Henn: Earlier this week, the Conference Board released its monthly consumer confidence report. And on-the-ground impressions of the U.S. job market are getting bleaker.

Jared Bernstein is an economist at the Economic Policy Institute:

Jared Bernstein: The share that say jobs are hard to get is the highest it’s been since late 2005. The share that say jobs are plentiful is the lowest it’s been.

But back in the fall of 2005, the unemployment rate was actually quite a bit worse. So why are so many Americans pessimistic about their job prospects?

Bernstein thinks it has something to do with this:

Bernstein: Job growth, job creation has been pretty unimpressive.

Since March of 2001, the total number of people employed in the U.S. has risen just 4.3 percent. Job growth in the 90’s was more than twice that.

In fact, job growth has been so sluggish that many people have stopped looking. And the percentage of the population that’s left the labor force is hovering right around a 10-year high.

In Washington, I’m Steve Henn for Marketplace.

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