Feature

Business columns: The U.S. hiring machine breaks down

&ldquo;The private sector didn&rsquo;t just lose jobs over the last month or the last year&rdquo;; it has been shedding jobs for the past decade, said Russ Britt in <em>Marketwatch.com.</em>

Russ BrittMarketwatch.com

The latest unemployment report makes for depressing reading, said Russ Britt. Unemployment rose to a 26-year high of 9.7 percent, and stimulus-supported government hiring, which is supposed to offset job losses in the private sector, failed to keep pace with corporate layoffs.

But this shouldn’t come as a surprise. “The private sector didn’t just lose jobs over the last month or the last year”; it has been shedding jobs for the past decade. “Yes, the very segment of the economy that was supposed to thrive under the Bush administration ended up with a net loss of 223,000 jobs since August 1999.” Over the same period, the U.S. population swelled by 33.5 million. The private sector hasn’t done that poorly creating employment since—“you guessed it”—the Great Depression.

The optimists in the economic fraternity say hiring should pick up in the next few months. But “even if your glass is half full, given the turn the jobs picture has taken in the last 10 years, you better hope that glass contains a powerful concoction.”

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