The recession officially plagued our country in December of 2007, exactly four years ago. Most would say now that the worst is over. And those of us who watched President Obama dub the summer of 2010 “Recovery Summer,” would love to agree with them. However, that claim couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, in November of 2007 there were 146.6 million people employed in America and as of June 2011, that number has dropped by 6.8 million – but, we’re “in recovery.”
We all wanted to believe the President when he attempted to provide some much needed hope for the future. But as time would tell, all we got were our hopes up, while the number of employed Americans went down. One year after Recovery Summer, the number of people holding jobs actually dropped by 1.9 million. As if that statistic weren’t jarring enough, former White House chief economist Larry Summers doesn’t see that trend stopping any time soon. Once again, the hard-working people of this country were left speechless with the enigmatic status of their economy. So, how is this happening?
Well, the answer is less puzzling than the question… Yes, there are slightly more jobs now than there were in the recession’s lowest point – 137.9 million in December 2009. Nonetheless, the economy is simply not creating jobs at a fast enough rate to keep up with the massive amount of layoffs paired with people entering the job market for the first time. And don’t forget, this loss of jobs comes despite $800 billion in stimulus spending. Summers explained it, “From the first quarter of 2006 to the first quarter of 2011, the U.S. economy’s growth rate averaged less than 1 percent a year. The fraction of the population working remains almost exactly at its recession trough, and recent reports suggest that growth is slowing.”
Possibly the biggest demographic suffering from the aftershocks are recent college graduates. They are being forced to move back in with their parents, which ultimately delays their entrance into the labor force, essentially endangering their own lifetime productivity and the economy further down the line. A college degree used to represent a sure-fire voucher for a solid spot in the labor force. Now, it appears to be a glorified receipt granting safe passage back into the nest. How are Americans to respond when they are informed of a nearing calm in the storm, only to find out it’s the eye and there are still many dark clouds to endure before any light shines through?