18
Jul
2005

Unemployed: The Dropout Puzzle

While unemployment rates look low, the figures leave out millions of Americans who have no jobs, Krugman reports.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2005/071805O.shtml



The Dropout Puzzle
By PAUL KRUGMAN
Published: July 18, 2005
op-ed columnist
The New York Times

Many seemingly authoritative figures, not all of them partisan shills, say that the American economy has fully recovered from the recession that began in 2001. They point to the unemployment rate, which has fallen from a peak of 6.3 percent in 2003 to 5 percent last month. That's not quite as low as the 4.2 percent unemployment rate in February 2001, when the recession began, but it's fairly low by historical standards.

For some reason, however, the public isn't feeling prosperous. Gallup tells us that only 3 percent of Americans describe the economy as "excellent," and only 33 percent describe it as "good."

Maybe people are just ungrateful. Maybe they've been misled by negative media reports. Maybe they're grumpy about their paychecks: adjusted for inflation, average weekly earnings have been flat for the past five years. Or maybe the figures on unemployment are giving a false signal.


© Virginia Metze
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