Job Losses Mount

The latest employment figures reveal widening job losses amid uneven economic growth, writes David Madland. Mounting job losses require short- and long-term action.

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The job numbers released today by the Department of Labor provide further evidence that that the economy is not working for most Americans, with new indications that the labor market is likely to remain weak for some time. In July, the economy lost another 51,000 jobs, and unemployment increased to 5.7 percent from 5.5 percent, its highest level since March of 2004. Job losses were widespread, declining in construction, manufacturing and several service industries.

While U.S. gross domestic product figures released yesterday showing modest growth of 1.9 percent for the most recent quarter may be enough to keep some economists from labeling the current period as a recession, today’s employment numbers demonstrate convincingly that the economy is very weak. Over the past 12 months, the ranks of the unemployed have swelled by 1.6 million people, and the unemployment rate has risen by 1 percentage point, a significant increase.

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David Madland

Senior Fellow; Senior Adviser, American Worker Project