by Jerome a Paris
Fri Jan 9th, 2009 at 09:34:05 AM EST
Jobless Rate Surges to 7.2% in December
The economy lost 2.6 million jobs in 2008, government figures showed, the most since World War II ended in 1945. Nearly two million of those losses were in the last four months alone, a sign that the recession accelerated as the financial crisis intensified, and should drag on well into the new year.
the unemployment rate, which is calculated using a separate survey of households, jumped 0.4 percentage point to 7.2%, the highest since January 1993.
By some broader measures, labor-market conditions are even worse than the main numbers suggest. When marginally attached and involuntary part-time workers are included, the rate of unemployed or underemployed workers reached 13.5% last month, up almost six percentage points from a year earlier.
This is clearly a sign of US economic superiority over Europe, as it shows vibrantly flexible labor markets, where companies are not afraid to hire because they know they can fire people at a later point. It's just as clearly a sign that the US will come out of this crisis faster than Europe, as it goes through structural adjustment a lot quicker than the rigidly bound European countries and companies.
Soon, as buyers take advantage of unprecedented low prices in the more transparent US housing market to make bargains (and profits) there will be a dynamic bounce from recent lows and a new economic surge is around the corner, leaving old and grumpy Europe behind, once again.
Oh, psst, the "real" unemployment rate was already at 13.3% in the US in June 2006. I wonder what that calculation would give us today...