Tuesday, May 11, 2010

On the Bench

"Here's one arresting fact: One of every five men 25 to 54 isn't working."

David Wessel, "Meet the Unemployable Man," The Wall Street Journal, May 1, 2010

April brought good job creation news, but we will need a lot more months like that and better to bring unemployment down.

"Lawrence Summers, the president's economic adviser, said the other day..'A good guess...is that when the economy recovers five years from now, one in six men who are 25 to 54 will not be working.'"

There are some potential longer-term fixes -- including skill building at community colleges and waiting for baby-boomer retirements at the end of the decade. In the short run, taking a lower paying job may be the only option for many.

"Today, 6.5 million workers have been out of work for six months or more, and that includes only those who are still looking for work...History suggests the longer they're unemployed, the less likely they are ever to work again. Faster economic growth would help a lot, but won't suffice."

Add in young people who are trying to get traction in the labor market and you have a bigger problem. Sounds like we need a jobs policy.

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