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Lost decade for job growth

Matter-Eater Lad

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By MarketWatch


LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) -- If you want to feel even more depressed about Friday's unemployment report, get a load of this: the private sector didn't just lose jobs over the last month or the last year -- it's lost jobs over the last decade.


Yes, the very segment of the economy that was supposed to thrive under the Bush administration ended up with a net loss of 223,000 jobs since August 1999, according to the latest figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, the nation's population has grown by 33.5 million people.


That's the worst job-creating performance by the private sector since, you guessed it, the Great Depression.


On top of that, the government created 2.1 million jobs. Wait, you say -- isn't that a positive? Well, no, because it's the worst performance by the government over a 10-year period since the last major recession of the early 1990s.


The good news is some economists say it seems we've hit bottom. While August's jobless report indicated a rise in unemployment to 9.7%, following on the heels of a slight decline in July, it still was good news in that payroll losses have moderated. See story.


Economists say the jobless rate is likely to turn soon, probably sometime between now and early next year.


The trouble is, though, that it hasn't turned yet. The economy may not be hemorrhaging jobs at the rate it was earlier in the year, but there's still a leak that has yet to be plugged. And figures from the last month, year and decade could get worse.


So, even if your glass is half-full, given the turn the jobs picture has taken in the last 10 years, you better hope that glass contains a powerful concoction.


-- Russ Britt, Los Angeles bureau chief



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