- Fired Yahoo exec’s $60 million golden parachute may be a record
- Arkansas gynecologist snapped nude photos of patients, police say
- Anthony Weiner on his current sexting habits: ‘None of your business’
- Producers eye Capitol Hill for latest reality TV hit
- No selfie awareness: Obama, Biden mug for Instagram as Ukraine implodes
- Putin to Snowden: We don’t collect droves of data on everyone like the U.S.
- Clemson football’s new opponent: Atheists upset with player prayer, Bible study
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s re-election launch party will be ‘history in the making,’ brother says
- Louisiana group hits back at Sen. Mary Landrieu campaign ad with ‘Actress Mary’ spot
- Brain surgery victim struggles with Obamacare: ‘It’s scary’
GHEI: Obama’s job-losing recovery
Welcome to the worst exit from a recession in modern history
Economists may say the United States has been in a recovery since June 2009, but it hasn’t been your father’s recovery — or your grandfather’s, either. Job losses, anemic growth and increasing domestic and global uncertainty have conspired to produce a recovery that’s barely there. Today, we are experiencing the most feeble exit to a recession since the end of World War II.
The postwar period has seen 11 recoveries, but the current jobs picture is worse than any of them. By the averages, the economy by now should have regained about 350 percent of the jobs lost during the preceding recession. In the 1981-82 recession, for example, 2.8 million jobs disappeared. Thirty-seven months later, 9.8 million jobs had been created, leaving a net gain of 7 million positions. This time around, we shed 8.8 million jobs and have regained just a bit over 4 million, leaving a deficit of some 55 percent.
The proportion of the long-term unemployed and the average length of unemployment are at historic highs. Some 41 percent of the jobless — more than 5 million Americans — have been out of work for more than six months. In previous business cycles, this figure typically was closer to 20 percent. The average time spent in the unemployment lines is at a historical high of over 40 weeks. In contrast, during the business cycle of the early 1980s, even when unemployment hit a peak of 11 percent, the average duration of unemployment was 21 weeks, and it declined quickly from that peak. Long-term unemployment is particularly troublesome because it erodes savings and job skills, leaving even workers who are fortunate enough to find a job with an earnings gap that is never closed.
The reason there are no jobs is the economy as a whole is stalled. Growth has slowed to a pitiful 1.5 percent. In total between 2009 and 2012, the economy expanded just 6.8 percent. Average growth in previous recoveries was more than double that amount, at 15.5 percent. Instead of accelerating, we’re headed in the opposite direction toward stagnation.
There are differences between the feeble, “barely there” recovery of the present and the roaring comebacks of the past. The euro crisis is slowing growth on our side of the Atlantic because the European Union is one of America’s largest trading partners, but the U.S. domestic situation is equally troubling. Taxes are set to increase sharply next year, unless Congress acts. The uncertainty over whether this will happen or not is a key factor dampening investment decisions. The regulatory burden has grown sharply in the last few years, and government spending as a proportion of gross domestic product has increased, crowding out the private sector. This decline in economic freedom, as measured by almost every index, has thrown a wet blanket over entrepreneurs who otherwise would have considered expanding their businesses.
Congress needs to reduce these barriers to private activity if we ever want to see the roaring, true recoveries of the past. Otherwise, America’s future will remain stagnant.
Nita Ghei is a contributing Opinion writer for The Washington Times.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
TWT Video Picks
By John R. Bolton
Reality calls for attaching Gaza to Egypt and the West Bank to Jordan
Get Breaking Alerts
- Removal of military gear limits options for U.S., NATO in Ukraine
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- Joe Biden's first Instagram pic mocked as shill for sunglass ad
- IRS emails reveal discussion with Justice about suing nonprofits for election activities
- Rand and Ron Paul ride to the rescue for Bundy in Nevada standoff with feds
- Cliven Bundy's Nevada ranch wrecked by retreating feds
- CURL: The state of the Union worse than you thought
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- PETA officials collide with deer
- CNN op-ed claims right-wingers 'more deadly than jihadists'
Recent Letters to the Editor
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Bundy support demonstrates voters' distrust
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Obamacare disasters were avoidable
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Muhammad wouldn't condone Boston bombing
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: High heels: Hazardous to one's health?
- LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Marshall's comments hurt GOP, pro-lifers