Monday, February 15, 2010

The Great Recession

As most folks know, we are in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. By most statistical measures, Americans are poorer than they were 11 years ago. This is not good news. A must read on the subject is in The Atlantic's latest issue: How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America. The author, Mr. Peck, lays out the effects of long-term unemployment on (mostly male) college graduates, mid-career, and late-career employment. Needless to say it is devastating, especially coupled with rising health care costs, the lost of industries (not just temporary unemployment), and the transformation of the American workplace from industrial to service. One quote, which is actually a quote from William Julius Wilson:
The consequences of high neighborhood joblessness, are more devastating than those of high neighborhood poverty. A neighborhood in which people are poor but employed is different from a neighborhood in which many people are poor and jobless. Many of today’s problems in the inner-city ghetto neighborhoods—crime, family dissolution, welfare, low levels of social organization, and so on—are fundamentally a consequence of the disappearance of work.
Read the article.

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