Signs of the Times

February 2, 2014 at 2:15 am (Icepick) ()

Saw yet another depressing story today.

States see record high in long-term joblessness

In 28 states, a third or more of the unemployed have been without a job for six months or longer, leaving them with no unemployment insurance safety net following the expiration of extended benefits in December.

In New Jersey, Florida and the District of Columbia, nearly half of the unemployed have been out of work for longer than 26 weeks, according to an analysis from the Economic Policy Institute of data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics. Among all 50 states and D.C., the average is 33%.

Before the Great Recession, the highest the long-term joblessness share ever reached was 26% in mid-1983, according to the EPI analysis. Today, 41 states and D.C. have shares of long-term unemployment above that level.

This reminded me that a few weeks ago Dave Schuler had pointed out the story linked below:

Half of U.S. Counties Haven’t Recovered From Recession

This was from the Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics blog. It includes an interactive map showing which counties in the USA have recovered from the Great Recession. As to be expected, I looked at the area where I live, Central Florida. In that area, it shows that Osceola, Pasco and Sumter counties have recovered. Pasco and Sumpter aren’t that populous. But Osceola County surprised me. At the height of the recession somewhere between one sixth and one fifth of the houses in Osceola County were sitting empty: built but never lived in, half-built, abandoned, or foreclosed upon.

But despite the fact that Osceola (the county directly south of Walt Disney World Resort) is in recovery, all is not well:

Near Disney World, number of homeless families soars

In the shadow of Walt Disney World, Osceola County has one of the highest rates of homeless families in the nation, and the problem continues to grow at an “astonishing” rate, officials told more than 300 community leaders Wednesday.

The number of homeless school-age children and parents rose by 54 percent to more than 5,000 in the past year alone, according to a new report commissioned by county government. Current programs aimed at helping those families get back on their feet have enough funding to help fewer than 10 percent of them.

Bailey said the “shockingly high” number of homeless families in Osceola stem from a unique intersection of low-wage jobs, high mobility, cheap and plentiful motel rooms, a lack of homeless shelters and, some say, a lack of code enforcement that allows families to stay in motels for months — sometimes years — at a time.

Back in June of 2010, the Obama Administration kicked off a celebration of Recovery Summer. According to the latest data, we’re still over 2,000,000 jobs short of where we were in November of 2007, a month before the recession began. And we’re over 4,000,000 full-time jobs short of where we were then. (It’s too depressing to break out the numbers at this time of night, we may be over 5,000,000 full-time jobs short.) And this doesn’t take into account that the working age population has grown considerably in the interim.

Can someone please tell me what the Hell recovery is supposed to mean? Can someone please tell me what the Hell anyone is doing about? Can someone tell me why the people that are running the country are more concerned with trying to fix every other country in the world (sometimes by importing more people from there to here) instead of trying to fix the country we’ve got?

And can someone please tell me why the rulers of the country are so damned pleased with themselves when the signs of the times are the ones held by women standing in front of groceries stores, holding a child with one hand and a placard  in the other stating,


Please help

Thank you

God Bless


  1. Icepick said,

    About a week ago, maybe it was two weeks, we went to the grocery store. It’s a decent grocery store (Publix, for those that know the chain) in a decent enough area. And out front was a woman holding on to a small child and a sign like the one I mentioned above. I’ve seen more and more homeless people lately, and distressingly many of them are families. Perhaps it’s just a pick up in the number of grifters, but reading stories like those linked above, I doubt it.

  2. Icepick said,

    I should note that the numbers used from the “According to the latest data” link use the Seasonally Adjusted Civilian Employment data recorded in the FRED system as of 2/2/2014, and measures from 11/2007 to 12/2013. When the new data comes out next Friday, the December numbers will probably be revised. But right now it shows a drop in employment of 2,009,000 from the pre-recession peak in November of 2007 (146,595,000) to December 2013 (144,586,000). FRED numbers are recorded by the 1000s.

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