The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Karen Traeger

The Real Story on the Jobs Numbers

Today’s Jobless Numbers: One Small Step, With a Long Way to Go


The 151,000 jobs added to the economy in October represent a glimmer of
hope to thousands of American families suffering through the two-year Great
Recession. But with the official
unemployment rate unchanged at 9.6% and the unofficial rate (which includes part-time
workers desiring full-time employment and discouraged job seekers) rising to 17.1%,
today's improved jobless numbers are far from heralding the end of the
employment crisis.

"With 6.2 million Americans unemployed for more than 27 weeks,
this job number is good news, but not nearly enough", said Michael J.
Wilson, National Director of Americans for Democratic Action. "And with many of the newly elected
Members of Congress proposing to slash public investments, there's a real
threat of a double dip recession."

The average length of unemployment, after falling for 3 consecutive
months, increased in October to 33.9 weeks, the 4th highest level on
record. As a result, the Manchester Index increased to 503 million weeks of unemployment,
also the 4th highest level on record.
The Manchester Index (named for its creator, economist Paul Manchester)
is derived by multiplying the number of jobless workers by the average duration
of their unemployment.

"Creating jobs remains the biggest challenge to the American
economy," said Wilson. "The case for public investment
seems to have fallen by the wayside in the face of short-term political
considerations. This report also
does nothing to remove the obvious need for the Congress to extend unemployment
benefits this month-failure to do so will not only devastate tens of
thousands of families, but will have a direct impact on the holiday
season. We can only hope that Congress
does the right thing in the extended session."

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