What is a 'jobless recovery'?

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  1. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 14 years ago

    I keep reading about this everywhere, that the 'jobless recovery' has arrived. The headline on the front page of our local paper was all about how the recovery has started even though there won't be jobs for another year or maybe even two.

    I'm serious, I don't understand this term.

    Does anyone here know what they are talking about?

    1. ledefensetech profile image69
      ledefensetechposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.  That term is the end result of 30 years of Political Correctness in this country.  The government is trying to fool  you.  On the one hand they need a recovery to keep themselves in power.  On the other, job losses are so huge that they can't fudge the numbers and say things are getting better.  So what does a spin politician do?  They devise a neologism.  "Jobless Recovery", you might not be working, but things are getting better.

      The fact that the term confuses you gives me hope for you.  What you're confused about is the claim by government that things are getting better.  That contradicts the fact that if you look around, things are not getting better, they're getting worse.  That is the source of your confusion.  You can either A) accept that the government knows what it is doing and embrace their doublethink or B) accept that fact that these guys have no idea what's going on and are taking us all for a ride.

    2. troyjones profile image58
      troyjonesposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      From this article on Wikipedia:
      "A jobless recovery or jobless growth is a phrase used by economists to describe the recovery from a recession which does not produce strong growth in employment. The phrase originated in the early 1990s in the United States, to describe the economic recovery at the end of President George H.W. Bush's term; it came back into use during the early 2000s."

      I think the thing to remember is that a recession is degined as 2 consecutive quarters of decline in GDP - not jobs, not household income.  A recovery is the end of the recession - GDP stops falling but this does not mean it has risen back to its previous level.

      This doesn't require automation or a rise in productivity.  Just a flat GDP.  If the GDP rises without job growth then obviously something like automation or job market changes (i.e. higher paying jobs in service replace lower paying jobs in manufacturing) have caused this.

      I guess I expect all recoveries to be jobless at the beginning.  Businesses don't go on hiring sprees after 1 quarter of good results.  Typically they will ask for overtime from current employees before hire new ones.

      I expect that those of us lucky enough to still have a job, and those of us lucky enough to work for companies that are beginning to recover will get the privilege of working extra hours for the next year or so.

  2. Treasured Pasts profile image72
    Treasured Pastsposted 14 years ago

    It does sound like an oxymoron but what they are saying is that companies are recovering and making money again by putting in efficiencies that allow them to expand without hiring any or as many new employees. Although some companies will need to hire as sales increase, the manufacturers will have turned to robotics and fewer layers of personnel. If you have heard of Lean training, that's partly what they refer to. Do more with less. Don't replace those jobs eliminated during the downturn.

  3. Mark Knowles profile image58
    Mark Knowlesposted 14 years ago

    It is an oxymoron. It is a fake recovery down to the massive amount of cash being pumped in to prop up the banking system. This is a very good article - just apply it to all th eother areas the fed has pumped cash into:

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/200 … €™-profits

    1. earnestshub profile image80
      earnestshubposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      ..and the bulldust machine just rolled through Australia too. In fact there is no recovery in site for Australia, just a spike, then higher costs.

      1. ledefensetech profile image69
        ledefensetechposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        Earnest, is that a spike in the stock market, then a spike in prices?

  4. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 14 years ago

    Thanks Treasured Pasts & Mark.

    Mark, that's s great article and it says (much more articulately than I could) exactly what I was thinking: What is it that is recovering and for whom? Who is benefiting? Certainly no one I know is benefiting.

    Wall Street is seeing some profit again, and that encourages some people who own stocks and work in finance, but so much of that profit seems to me to be artificial. It isn't happening because new factories are being built or businesses are expanding or because anyone is investing in anything REAL--it's just more slippery accounting and smoke and mirrors. You can just feel them sniffing around for the next bubble.

    I find it really, really disturbing.

    Companies are doing more with less--that's been going on since Bush got into office. More productivity, falling wages, rising prices. Nothing new there. How is that a recovery? Who is recovering? Only the richest few it seems to me.

  5. Ron Montgomery profile image61
    Ron Montgomeryposted 14 years ago

    Implicit in the term "recovery" is the assumption that we will go back to where we once were.  I don't think this will be the case.  Politicians can't say this or they themselves will become unemployed.  Many of the jobs that were lost are gone for good, not to be recovered.  Despite the interventions of governments, market forces cannot be permanently overcome.  Just like you can "overcome" gravity temporarily, sooner or later you come back to Earth. 

    New jobs will replace the old and each of us will need to prepare ourselves to be marketable in a career field that is in demand.  Boot blacks and coopers have been in an economic downturn for some time now, auto workers and truck loaders are not far behind.

    1. profile image0
      pgrundyposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I think this is spot on.

      At least in the U.S., the elephant in the living room is that NO recovery is coming, not in the way the press and politicians mean when they talk about recovery. Manufacturing is gone, service and retail is much diminished, the auto industry will be but a shadow of its former self if it survives (and there go all the industries that depend on the auto industry), and even health care jobs are shaky until we sort out how the hell to keep THAT system from totally melting down too over the course of the next few years.

      I think the U.S. is going to find itself with a much lower standard of living over all for a good decade or even longer. Implied in all the recovery talk is this expectation that consumer spending will come roaring  back at some point, but you have to have money to spend. Most of the spending of the past decade was financed, and now that credit is gone and good thing too--but the problem remains, what jobs, what money, where?

      Until I hear the answer to that I remain pessimistic.

  6. oscillationatend profile image60
    oscillationatendposted 14 years ago

    It's very simple...soylant green is people!

  7. Lisa HW profile image62
    Lisa HWposted 14 years ago

    Two words:  Charlotte's Web

    For years we were hearing how well the economy was doing (across the country and in my state, Massachusetts).  While we're hearing all this, people I know were looking around and seeing people losing their jobs or else having cut-backs in things like benefits, pay increases, etc.  People who lost their jobs took ages to find new ones if they found a new one at all; and there were - like - a thousand or more resumes for every position.  An engineer/software designer friend of mine ended up working at Sears, selling appliances.  He worked with an attorney, someone else who has a Ph.D., and a bunch of other professionals who were working for about $7 an hour.  This was only after he found the Sears job after leaving a part-time Stop&Shop bakery job.  A neighbor was laid off (with others) from his bank executive job; and I don't think he ever found another similar job.  And still, all we kept hearing was how great everything was.  Finally (what - like four months before Bush left office or something) someone called things, "a recession".

    So now there's this whole new mess and whatever it or isn't going on, or likely to go on, and someone decided to label it "jobless recovery" (and the guy I know who worked at Sears is now working as a technician, like he did when he first graduated college; after he sold his house, had his car re-possessed, and did a little stint on food stamps and welfare insurance for a few months.  He isn't one isolated case.  It's everywhere.  Even if things appear to be where they may start to turn around, it ought to be called what it is:  "The beginnings of a turn-around."    Everybody is pretty much on to empty rah-rah talk at this point, and the people who do it just look like fools and liars.

    Think I'll go send out my pictures to see if I can work as a super model.  I'll just have to point out to people that even if I'm shorter, older, and lacking in some of photogenic bone structure; I AM, in fact, super-model material.  Think they'll buy it?  I'll call myself, "A non-photogenic super model."

    1. profile image0
      pgrundyposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      Exactly. This started way back before Bush took office. Working people saw it happening and were totally gas-lighted. Remember the old joke about all the jobs Clinton created? The punchline was, "Yeah, I have three of them."

      It isn't new, this mess, it's just much, much worse, and this idea that just inspiring confidence will turn it around is kind of insulting.

  8. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 14 years ago

    "You can either A) accept that the government knows what it is doing and embrace their doublethink or B) accept that fact that these guys have no idea what's going on and are taking us all for a ride."

    I think I'll pass on allowing you to frame my arguments for me. When you get done sharpening that axe let me know and we'll talk. smile

    1. ledefensetech profile image69
      ledefensetechposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      What other alternatives are there?

  9. ledefensetech profile image69
    ledefensetechposted 14 years ago

    Hey I lived in the People's Republic of Taxachusetts for several years.  I liked the people and weather, but not the government.

    That's what happens in the boom phase of a bubble.  People get mixed signals and based on those mixed signals they make decisions that may prove unsustainable in the long run.  Without outside manipulation, it's much easier to make prudent decisions. 

    Healthcare, for example, is one area that's going to see a massive increase of demand over the next couple of decades.  Not only are the baby boomers retiring but we have a massive shortage of general practitioners in this country.  That's why I think Nurse Practitioners and Physician's Assistants are going to be where it's at over the next few years.  Because of the destruction of the boomer's retirement, they're going to need low cost medical care.  PA's and NP's are ideally suited to provide that for them.

    The real turn around will happen when guys like your friend start innovating and start new businesses.  That is the only thing that will spur recovery and jobs creation.  Unfortunately the morons in government are doing the exact opposite of what needs to happen in order to encourage people to innovate, take risks and create new enterprises.  That's why I think it'll be a long time before we see a recovery.

    1. Lisa HW profile image62
      Lisa HWposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      The trouble is that friend did start a business back in the late 70's, and it was doing quite well until the big "slow down" in technology hit in the early 80's and left bunches of technology people without work or business.  He's actually got what may be an excellent "thing" (innovation), but people who've gone through enough of these economic upheavals can have trouble being up for something like starting a new business in a recession.

      1. profile image0
        pgrundyposted 14 years agoin reply to this

        Part of the problem is that market manipulation makes sustaining even a successful small business very difficult. You certainly can't compete on price, and anything truly innovative gets stolen or crowded out by huge corporate interests. Now people think also they should get 8-10% minimum annual returns on investments which makes it all worse. The days when you bought stock because you thought the business issuing the stock had a good idea or a sound model are over. The shadow banking system has made the whole thing into this frenzied mash of derivatives and complex maneuvers that has almost nothing to do with reality. Look what they did with the dot coms. It was disgusting.

        I think corporations have to be smacked down and Wall Street regulated much more stringently for small business to have a chance but that's not going to happen.

  10. blue dog profile image62
    blue dogposted 14 years ago

    it is spin.  it's been going on forever, but has become increasingly rampant over the last few years.  as recently as september '08 we were informed that a) the economy was still doing fine or b) we might be headed into a recession.
    you can pick one if you like.  the fact remains  that - and most self-employed people already know and will acknowledge that we've reached a point of no return and it doesn't matter which cheerleader gets anointed or appointed or "elected" into office - the transfer of wealth from the middle class (forget low income, they never have had it) to the upper crust is almost complete.  any spin associated with a "recovery" is only a method to extract the last few pennies from the bottom of the barrel.  america's fast ride of prosperity is falling even faster into the annals of history.

    1. profile image0
      pgrundyposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      I think you nailed it blue dog. Sad but true.

  11. bgamall profile image68
    bgamallposted 14 years ago

    My concern Pam is this: http://business.theatlantic.com/2009/07 … geance.php

    While on the surface it appears that transparent mark to market is good, this very same BIS that planned the ponzi housing scheme also planned the M2M. But they had M2M ready to go in 2004. They didn't implement it until the very end of the bubble. This is unfortunate. They are the puppeteers and they are the home bank to our treasonous Federal Reserve Bank. I say we boot the Fed out, banish BIS (bank of international settlements) and their US accounting board FASB.

    We are headed to a major deflation that BIS, the Fed and FASB could have avoided. We need to boot them all off US soil!

  12. profile image0
    pgrundyposted 14 years ago

    Yes my better half has been having that privilege since Christmastime. No relief in sight at this point, although they are hiring again.

    1. bgamall profile image68
      bgamallposted 14 years agoin reply to this

      With m2m coming again, I am very worried about our economy and the possibility of heavy deflaton. I am very worried that a lot of investors and employees are going to be hurt this time.

  13. ledefensetech profile image69
    ledefensetechposted 14 years ago

    Investors are going to get hurt because many of them are trying desperately to get the boom times going again.  Look at tech stocks, ten years later they are nowhere near where they were at the height of the boom.  If history is anything to judge by, it'll be decades more before the NASDAQ sees those highs again.  Likewise housing and the stock market.  Those bubbles have burst and like a popped balloon you can't re-inflate those.  That's why you have people who won't settle for anything less than 10% returns because they're trying to make up all that false paper wealth instead of chasing after the real wealth. 

    If they want to try that, fine.  Every con artist in the nation will be trying to part them from their money.  Savvy and intelligent investors look of capital preservation and invest in things people need.  One of the growth industries in the next few decades will be infrastructure.  Many utilities, roads, bridges, etc. are reaching the end of their lifetimes.  Billions will be needed to replace them.  Companies that meet those needs will do very well.  But all you hear about in the news is about how you should invest in the failed banks and finance companies.  People who do that, learned nothing over the last year and deserve to lose their money.

    I welcome deflation because only then will people be able to afford things again.  In addition those firms that made bad decisions or cannot produce things efficiently will fail.  In this regard the market punishes poor behavior and rewards prudent behavior.  Resources that went to poorly managed firms will then go to prudent firms who will then expand their business, in the process creating jobs.  That's one of the ways in which the economy will recover.

  14. bgamall profile image68
    bgamallposted 14 years ago

    I never thought I would want deflation, but it would make things worth what they should be worth. It would make people save and that would spur real economic growth, and our dollar will rebound. That would be good.


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