like something out of the Great Depression

I’m surfacing for a minute from my own (thank G-d, no complaints here, I’ve got a job) crushing work-load to comment about some stories I’ve seen in the last week in the U.S. The story about the more than 1400 people who lined up in single digit temperatures starting nearly 16 hours before the doors opened, not to get some great after Christmas sale deal, but to have a chance at securing a handful of jobs on offer in New York is the latest of them. This seems to be happening across the country — earlier this week there was a story about more than 1600 people turning up to apply for one of only 36 new jobs at an ice cream plant in Hagerstown, Maryland. A couple of weeks ago there was an article about more than 500 people turning up to apply for something like 10 jobs as supermarket cashiers in, I think it was Georgia, and the manager was like, this is crazy, more than half of them have college degrees.

The new jobs report of only 6.7% unemployment was a bombshell but not one you’d expect. It is not a happy number. There had been a forecast that more than 200,000 permanent jobs would be added in December but the number turned out to be only 74,000, including temporary jobs. The news gets worse: That major drop in unemployment numbers is more a reflection of jobs lost — or at least, people without jobs –rather than gained. For every job added in December, 5 people left the labour market (e.g., gave up finding a job and stopped trying) in that same month. The official unemployment numbers only reflect the number of people actively trying to find work and so the unemployment number went down only because so many unemployed gave up finding work. It gets worse, yet: More than half of the 74,000 new jobs added in December were temporary, seasonal jobs. The latest reports are that 92 million people are unemployed. More women than men are employed (though at lower wages) but the number of women in the workforce has just dropped to a more than 30-year low — going back to numbers that reflect a time when a majority of women didn’t work out of choice and societal norms — a time when only one income was needed to get by and there were far fewer female heads of households. Only 62.8% of the adult population is participating in the labor market now — meaning they either have a job or are looking for one. That matches the lowest level since 1978, again a time when a majority of women didn’t need to work for their family to survive. Times have changed.

Disturbingly, it isn’t just the U.S. in an unemployment crisis crunch. Record numbers of job seekers have been turning up for jobs in Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K.

There’s something else that is making an uncomfortable itch climb up my spine and I’ll post about it later but involves Germany’s sudden demand that the U.S. return the country’s gold that they’ve been storing for them, the fact that the U.S. has said it will take 10 years for them to ship all of it back, and that the first shipment was only a quarter of the amount promised and what did arrive was not what Germany stored — it was re-melted down bars and not the bars Germany stored with their country’s insignia imprinted on them. There’s been a good bit of coverage in the German press about this and what it may mean and, I think, none of what it may mean is very good.

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4 responses to “like something out of the Great Depression”

  1. WipeOutHamasOnceAndForAll says :

    Ariel Sharon? An Israeli failure! The typical Israeli volte-face I could say of someone who once was a strong right-wing Israeli politician who then pathologically became a left-wing Israeli politician!!

    He got what I call “the Israeli syndrome” that a few others before him got, such as Shimon Peres and Yitsraq Rabin and others at high positions, for instance Ehud Olmert.

    Why Israeli politicians got this Israeli syndrome? It is quite easy to understand, it is the same syndrome that happens with LGBT people. Only a few decades ago, if one would have spoken in favor of same sex marriages, he would have been corrected right away is very strong terms. But now, when one speaks about same sex marriages as being “normal” when it is not, it is now nearly considered a crime to tell this person that same sex marriages are completely wrong, not to mention extremely disgusting.

    The same idea applies to the Israeli syndrome of repeating a lie many times until it becomes a truth to most Israelis. And this lie is quite simple: Palestinians are supposedly native Israelis who settled before the Jews in the Land of Israel.
    The false truth is very different. When the Jews at the first aliyah came back to the Land of Israel, there were already Jews who had settled continuously throughout the centuries in the Land of Israel and there were also very few inhabitants in the entire Land of Israel that comprised Jordan, part of Syria, the current State of Israel, and part of the Sinai. So few that the entire population of the entire Land of Israel before the first aliyah was around 150,000 inhabitants, not much more! Which is extremely low for the huge area covered by the entire Land of Israel.
    The truth is that 99% of the current Palestinians came due to the British who purposefully asked them to settle both in the East (Jordan part) and in the West (Israel part) of the Palestine of the British Mandate with the only goal of creating a bogus Muslim state in Jordan. Therefore, these Palestinians are for 99% of them settlers who moved into the Land of Israel with the only goal of preventing Jews from settling into their ancestral Land of Israel. And this applies not only to Jordan but also to Syria and even a big part of Lebanon.
    That is the historical truth. But a lie repeated many times become a truth and that is what happened to most Israelis, to Sharon too, as well as to Peres and Rabin with this Israeli syndrome of believing in the Palestinian lie and deception.

    Having said that, no hard feelings against Ariel Sharon, R.I.P. In fact, it is people like Sharon, Peres, and Rabin that show the Israelis their mistakes. Will the Israelis learn from their painful mistakes? Well, I am kind of pessimistic on this matter even though I hope I am wrong.

  2. WipeOutHamasOnceAndForAll says :

    Well, I forgot to mention an obvious BIG detail that the Palestinians (just Arabs in fact) usually avoid at all costs to mention concerning the Israelis. The fact that the Israelis are Jews and that the Jews are the descendants of the Hebrews whose most famous Hebrew King, King David, created the Kingdom of Israel millennia ago!! Just a BIG detail that is quite embarrassing to acknowledge for these bogus Palestinians (who are just Arabs!). A BIG detail that basically destroys the various bogus claims made by the Palestinians.

  3. Lynne says :

    The economy is so complicated, and I am the last person to be able to add anything substantial to the discussion really, except to say that it’s in our best interest to live within our means and to save when we can. The problem is that so many people live so near the edge of their means or frankly do not have enough money at all for basics that saving seems impossible. I live in Austin, Texas, and the economy is flourishing here. Everything seems rosy on the surface. When I was teaching, I saw those who were struggling to make ends meet though. No one can live on minimum wage salaries. Some of the parents of my students had two and three jobs; others had government assistance—and they still struggled to provide the basics. Though Austin looks positively prosperous, I know that there are many who are not. Austin does have manufacturing, high tech jobs, and a diversity of employment opportunities, and compared to cities like Detroit and Chicago, Austin is doing great. That is not true of the rest of the country. It seems that we hardly make any products anymore, and that must be part of the problem. Having manufacturing in Austin has certainly helped the economy here, but employers complain that there are not enough qualified people to fill the jobs that they offer. Complicated. If we get to the point that we are facing a depression, we will know it. I remember the stories that my mom told me about the depression, how it effected her family, neighbors and the community. It was not a subtle thing; it was drastic. I hope that we are not heading that way.

  4. Lynne says :

    I read an article about the minimum wage issue, and of course, it is not as simple as it seems as most of you know. People get trapped in dead-end jobs like working for fast food joints and they never are allowed enough hours to make a decent living, not matter what the minimum wage is. Their hours are scattered and often unreasonable, and that makes child care and schooling, training, and having a second job impossible, too. And, the fast food places do it to avoid providing benefits. Frankly, in addition to our health, avoiding fast food for this reason seems sensible. Surely, these fast food places could make a good profit without exploiting their workers… Here in Austin, there is a family-owned business, Lammes Candies, and one of their workers is about 92 years old and has worked for them since she was just 18, immediately after graduating from high school. She says that she had to interview three times to convince the owner to give her a chance at the job. I am sure he had no idea of the amazing employee that he finally hired, a woman who is described by the family that owns the business as “the heart and soul of Lammes Candies”. Apparently, the family business owners have always treated her right!

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