Heather Boushey dives deeper than the headlines in the latest unemployment report and finds little but bad news:
The dismal labor market for workers is evident in nearly every series the BLS has from its household survey, which measures labor market weakness. Nearly a million workers have left the labor force over the past year; two-thirds of those unemployed are out of work because they lost their prior job, dwarfing new and returning labor market entrants; 9.3 million workers are employed part-time even though they would prefer a full-time jobs; and the share of the population with a job has fallen to 58.5 percent, lower than at any point since 1983; adult men’s employment rates fell to 66.7 percent, hitting another all-time low (going back to 1948); and teens are seeing their worst labor market ever — unemployment among 16- to 19-year-olds is a record 27.6 percent.
The high unemployment among teens is going to retard their acquisition of basic labor market skills and they’ll suffer lifelong consequences as a result. You sometimes hear it said that we can’t afford to burden the future with additional debt and “printing money.” The reality is that we can’t afford not to. Surveying the political situation, there’s probably more room for action on the Fed side of things than the Congress/White House side, but either way we need more expansionary policies.