A year ago, I predicted unemployment would reach nine percent. On Friday morning, the Labor Department released the monthly “Jobs Report,” showing unemployment had already reached 8.1 percent, the worst in 26 years.
If you add in the under-employed, those people who are forced to work part-time or who have given up, 14.8 percent of the workforce is struggling. As if that wasn’t bad enough, don’t forget that unemployment is a “lagging indicator,” which means it will not improve until after the economy improves, which is not expected before the fourth quarter of this year.
That means unemployment is likely to rise all year, making a 10 percent level of unemployment almost a certainty. The rate of under-employment could even approach an unthinkable 20 percent. It will be a very long year indeed for millions of people.