An Unemployment Chart Almost Too Depressing To Look At

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If you are currently unemployed, you might not want to look at the chart I am about to show you.  In fact, even those who have jobs are likely to get quite depressed after looking at it.  Why?  Well, because it shows that long-term unemployment in the United States continues to get much worse.  Millions of middle class Americans have been dumped out of their jobs over the past two or three years, and they can’t seem to find equivalent jobs no matter how hard they try.  Millions have given up on finding something that will pay about the same and have resorted to flipping burgers or greeting customers down at the local “big box” store.  Millions of others can’t seem to get hired anywhere.  The truth is that there are not nearly enough jobs for everyone anymore.  Today, there are about 6 unemployed Americans for every single job opening in the United States.  It is almost as if tens of millions of American workers have been forced into a very sick version of musical chairs where there are not nearly enough chairs for everyone.  Unfortunately, the losers in this game are likely to lose their homes, their dignity and any chance at achieving the American Dream.  The truth is that things are getting really bad out there.  According to one disturbing new survey, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one member that is looking for a full-time job.  That is not just a problem – that is a national crisis.


The following is the chart I warned you about at the beginning of the article.  It shows how the percentage of the unemployed who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more is absolutely skyrocketing….

Just a few years ago, in 2007, the percentage of unemployed workers who had been out of work for 27 weeks or more was under 20 percent.

Now it has more than doubled.

In fact, according to the most recent numbers, 46.2 percent of unemployed Americans have been out of work for 27 weeks or more.

Not only that, but the average time needed to find a job in the United States has risen to a record 35.2 weeks.


The truth is that it is NOT easy for most people to find a job out there right now.

The failing economy has created a vast group of chronically unemployed Americans who are losing hope fast.

According to a recently released survey from the Pew Research Center, 46% of those unemployed for at least six months say unemployment has strained family relations, and 43% of them say that they have lost contact with close friends.

If you have ever experienced it, then you probably know just how soul-crushing long-term unemployment can be.  Your family looks at you differently.  Your friends look at you differently.  Some people don’t even want to be around you anymore.  Others just look at you with pity.

It is a really, really hard place to be.

Unfortunately, more Americans than ever are going through some sort of employment difficulty.  Another recent Pew Research survey found that 55 percent of the U.S. labor force has experienced either unemployment, a pay decrease, a reduction in hours or an involuntary move to part-time work since the recession began.

Without good jobs, an increasing number of American families are finding it very difficult to make it each month.  A record number of Americans are going bankrupt.  A record number of Americans are losing their homes.

In fact, approximately 18.9 million homes in the U.S. stood empty during the second quarter of 2010.

Can you imagine that?

Nearly 20 million good homes are just sitting there completely unoccupied.


So how did this happen?

Well, there are a lot of reasons for our economic troubles, but a big one is that the big predator corporations that dominate our economy simply do not need that many American workers any longer.

In his recent article for Salon entitled “Are the American people obsolete?”, Michael Lind described how this paradigm has fundamentally shifted….

The offshoring of industrial production means that many American investors and corporate managers no longer need an American workforce in order to prosper. They can enjoy their stream of profits from factories in China while shutting down factories in the U.S. And if Chinese workers have the impertinence to demand higher wages, American corporations can find low-wage labor in other countries.

The truth is that the game has changed.  Once upon a time, wealthy Americans had to hire other Americans to make their factories and businesses go.  But that is no longer the case.  In a previous article, I attempted to communicate just how much the global landscape has changed….

As you read this, there are tens of millions of people in China, India and dozens of third world nations who would love to do your job for one-tenth the pay.  They are willing to work 12 hours a day.  They don’t expect a benefits plan or a pension package.  They aren’t going to waste countless hours chatting on their cell phones or updating their Facebook profiles.  All they want is a chance.  And increasingly, the big global corporations that dominate the world economy are giving it to them.  It is called outsourcing, and if you don’t believe that it can happen to your job, you might want to think again.

Because of the foolish decisions that we have made, future generations of Americans are not going to be able to count on the U.S. economy being able to produce tens of millions of middle class American jobs.

American workers are just not very attractive to global corporations any longer.  It just doesn’t make economic sense to pay American workers ten times more.  So the truth is that the standard of living for middle class Americans is not going to go anywhere but down.

Already, there are dozens of statistics that show that the middle class is systematically being wiped out in America.  The majority of Americans are now living paycheck to paycheck and are struggling to get by.  The truth is that most people today are only a few months (or even a few weeks) from financial disaster.

So what should we all do?

Well, we all need to start reading the handwriting on the wall.  Very hard economic times are ahead.  The good jobs that have been shipped overseas are never coming back.  We all need to try to become less dependent on “the system” and learn to take care of ourselves.

It’s a jungle out there, and things are not going to get any easier.  Hard times are coming and it is time for everyone to get prepared.

  • Not so Mad Max

    I have to disagree with this article on a couple of points. One most American Workers are not that useless. If you have somebody who’s not cutting the mustard unless their in a Union you can tell them to hit the bricks without cause.

    The largest employers in America are small business, have been for a wile. I agree with you about Large Corporations this administration is doing everything it can to strangle small business. With the dimwitted policies coming out of DC nobody domestic is going to hire with this kind of cloud hanging over the USA and many small business are moving to China. NO EPA, No OHSA, No Office of Minority and Women Inclusion, that one still puzzles me. If you had a business and could move it to a place where you could just run your business and not worry about madness coming out of DC would you?

    After the Tech Bubble I was laid off four jobs in the spate of about 5 yrs, it was no fun. People do look at you differently help is pretty spotty the State Veterans office was pretty useless, so was some federal programs I got hooked up to they train you for crap jobs you really don’t want to do. I was lucky in my state we have a pretty good employment office and I got a lead though them and I’m employed and have been for close to five years. It sucks not having a job and it sucks making $10.50 an hour at a temp job.

  • Greg

    Two things make me want to cry…the poor people who are struggling to find jobs and going through these terrible times and the fact that Gary is going to say the answer is taxing the rich. How, oh how, Gary, is taxing the rich going to create jobs for those 6 people looking for every one available job??!!

    I suggest national repentance and begging for God’s mercy on us.

  • Gary

    We need to tax the corporations to the max and enforce standards on them. Capitalism is hopefully dead and gone and we need to put the focus on people and not simply profits. We need strong social safety nets akin to Scandinavia/Western Europe. They may be going through a rough time now (caused by our own republican great recession/depression) but we need to be MUCH more like them. More of a “we” mentality instead of our selfish “me” mentality most have in the USA. (again this “me” thinking is caused by capitalism).

    We also need to tax the rich and spread the wealth. Just like Obama told that dolt joe the plumber.

    There are too many low information unsophisticated people who vote republican which is actually causing them to fall out of the middle class. All the right cares about is more tax cuts for the rich.

  • Gary’s Wrong

    Gary, just move to Scandinavia/Western Europe. We won’t miss you!

    We need to be become self reliant and not dependent on the government for anything. If they manage to help keep the borders safe and prevent us from being invaded that would be peachy. The rest needs to go.

  • LMAO – this is so pathetically sad it’s funny. ::HOW:: did this happen? Well let’s see…40 years of outsourcing every conceivable industry this country has ever had. (Except for some odd reason, the field of nursing. But more on that later.) Manufacturing? Boom. Gone to a 3rd world **** hole. When there weren’t anymore manufacturing jobs (save for those **union** jobs at the Big Three), they told the displaced workers to get educated. They did. Then the dot bomb days came and everyone was doing tech support. But that was no good because employers were only making 700 mountains of money in profits instead of 7 thousand. So they had their political pets outsource the I.T. work. Boom. Gone to another 3rd world **** hole.

    This is the end result of 40 years worth of putting into office millionaires who don’t have ::CLUE ONE:: as to how the bottom 95% of us in this country have to live. Wise up, people. Vote out ::BOTH:: sides because the gee oh pee and the spineless democrats only represent their billionaire corporate masters, **not** We, the People.

  • Bob

    In the early 90’s corporations laid everyone off that was close to retirement age. Then thanks to NAFTA, the rest of the jobs went overseas in the coming years. So, the American Dream is just that, a dream which will not happen. Student loans are in default at the rate of 20% and growing, but cant be discharged through bankruptcy, what a quagmire that is and going to get worse, no jobs to pay for that rip off. So, lets see, high school kids dropping out at the rate of 25-30% per year, no skills or jobs for them, who pays for that mess? So, yes indicators are for a very rough time ahead for Americans. Home prices propped up by the feds, when will they ever get out of our pockets? Now Obama wants to do a backdoor amnesty for the illegals without congressional approval. I dont see a job coming down the road anytime soon.

  • Not so Mad Max

    Gary have you looked at the debt to GDP ratios in Scandinavia and Western Europe? I really hate to break this to you but the Euro Zone is as broke as the USA, and they have serious demographic issues. Some places are worse then others but they’re all out of money or in debt or both the banks have liquidity issues the difference between us and them are orders of magnitude.
    The welfare state is dead because you can’t have everybody sucking on the public tit, somebody has to produce something, Christ almighty is this really that hard to understand? Put your emotions aside and think.

  • Gary

    Mad Max-I would say that the rich have been sucking on the … which is why they have all the money. NO society can survive much less thrive with the wealth being so concentrated in the hands of so few people. The top 1% has 40% of the wealth/income of the USA. The top 10% has more wealth and income than the bottom 90%.

    Please tell me why I am wrong in advocating heavily taxing the rich and spreading the wealth? I can not believe any reasonably sane person can’t see that wealth/income inequality is the big problem.

    How can ANY sane person not want to let the Bush tax cuts for the rich (not the middle/lower classes) expire?

    I really believe some people must be drinking their own bath water when they call the estate tax unfair and are generally against heavily taxing the rich to spread the wealth. Do you want to become more of a banana republic? Anyone who can see anything can see that the middle class is being decimated.

    For the record I do believe that the Democrats are simply less evil and destructive than the republicans but as a previous poster said they are all millionaires who have no clue how the rest of us live.

    PS to Greg-At least I am consistent! I am glad I do not disappoint you:)

  • the end is near

    America there will only be one end result to the madness, get ready and get prepared, dont ignore the signs, they are warning you.

  • Jon

    Gary you’re vomiting again, clean up on aisle 13!

    Higher taxes mean higher unemployment.
    Decrease taxation and the massive regulatory network that hangs over American businesses like a cloud of death.

    Gary seriously misunderstands the problems facing the Eurozone and all of the West in general. If you think Republicans caused all this, then you are seriously deluded. Certainly the polices of both political parties caused problems, but it really all goes back to the creation of the Fed in 1913, and the increasing dependence on government and fake money since that time.

    It’s not merely offshoring that created the unemployment mess, but the massive increases in government regulation that made business in the US so expensive to conduct.


  • George

    Well, if we have a zombie apocalypse, that might create a few job openings. :) That’s about the only hope I have at this point. (entering 11th month of unemployment)

  • Buy American

    This whole course of our nation could be literally changed overnight. If every American were to resolve to only buy American Products when given a choice, it would immediately invert the trade balance and create a surge in American manufacturing, adding jobs and revenue to our country. Just as India’s economic course was changed by the simple act of them making their own salt and “homespun” cloth, this is really the only way out of this mess. We keep looking to the politicians to wave some fairy tale magic wand and we will wake up and find it was only a bad dream.

    The real reason we are in this mess isn’t due to greedy corporations outsourcing. The real root is you and I, the American consumers who through the vote we cast with the dollars we spent at Wally World, showed that we preferred cheap Chinese products rather than quality American goods. Corporate heads simply followed the will of the American people. We have no-one to blame except ourselves.

    We have put our government into an awkward position in which they are ever dependent on foreign capital which has enslaved our nation to trade treaties which we cannot break. Brazil puts heavy tarrifs on imported goods to protect their industries – but they are debt free and don’t have to answer to any other nation. Unfortunately our politicians are powerless to do the same without retaliation. I am not saying that we don’t need a changeover of the politicians who are continuing to make poor decisions for our nation, but we need to take responsibility and resulting action ourselves.

    So the key is to stop pointing our fingers at past generations and current leadership and immediately choose to change our buying habits. Each vote we cast with our dollars empowers the government to make right decisions and helps to put our family and neighbors back to work. Those who are well off can also choose to hire unemployed people to do household tasks such as lawn maintenance, cleaning, or other chores while personally focusing on being more productive and stimulating our companies and businesses to be more competitive in the global marketplace.

  • John Galt

    //There are too many low information unsophisticated people who vote republican which is actually causing them to fall out of the middle class. All the right cares about is more tax cuts for the rich.//

    No, there are too many retarded people that believe that the democrats or republicans are the answer. Tax cuts for EVERYONE! 100% deduction.

  • Neesie

    Gary – you are like puddy in the hands of our nation’s governing officials. They have you just where they want you. You also sound like a broken record! Our nation’s governing officials are corrupt and they have purposefully misled this nation. Their agenda is for complete control of the people. They have purposely removed the jobs from our borders and placed them in the hands of foreign countries. They could care less about us. They could care less that people are unemployed. They created the problem to begin with. Your continual ramblings about taxing the rich and taxing corporations even more will do nothing to solve our nation’s unemployment problems. The nation’s leaders have no intention of using tax money to create more jobs so if the rich are taxed even more as you suggest the money would not be used to create jobs anyway. Unfortunately, we have turned away from God as a nation and we are reaping what we have sown. We need to repent as a nation and pray for God’s mercy.

  • Not so Mad Max

    Gray I am not against taxing the so-called rich, people should be taxed and failed business should be allowed to fail their management and shareholders taking it in the shorts. That’s how the game should be played. What I am against is taxing small business into the oblivion. Government has to be cut and brutally capital has to be created poor people dependent on the Government don’t create jobs risk takers do. Microsoft, Sun, Ford, all started with some guy with an idea and the balls to go out and make it happen.

    We have a standard of living most of the worlds strive for and marvel at people are not going to take risks if your buddy Barry O taxes them at 80%. Greed is not good it played a massive part in how we go into our present mess, but Greed plays a part in why people put up with the brain damage, sacrifices, and people like you to start a business.

    Human nature is not pretty it would nice if people started business only for the betterment of mankind, the Children, and the greater glory of the UN. People don’t. Communism, Socialism, and fascism, where attempts to change human nature, or simply ignore it. Capitalism is the only ism that factors in human nature, and why it’s been successful deal with it.

    Critical thinking in the west in general and USA in particular is dead to many people have had it to easy for to long, and have the luxury of thinking with their emotions, those days are ending thank god.

  • The4thKing

    As it stands, the upper class control the economy, the lower class are victims of the economy and the middle class is the backbone of the economy. It is no different than a feudal lands system. Reading the comments here it seems as if no one understands that no one solution of taxation or deregulation will solve the unemployment issue. Globalization allowed for corporations to spend less and make more, taxing these corporations will only worsen that mentality. Lessening “Big Brother’s” control over these companies is as if to say that these firms are not kin to the government. Saying that it is not, deregulation only invites these firms to run the world as rampant as they have; inciting and fueling wars for diamond and oil, employing a nation of workers who cannot afford the product they manufacture or troubleshoot. The answer lies not in the admonishment of the people that run the system, however the fixation of the flaws of the system itself. A proper flow of wealth from rich to poor alike has to be maintained within the country in order for the country to be economically stable and strong.

  • Gary

    Business is not regulated enough-did you not notice the oil spill and the republican recession that is still going on. Deregulation championed by the right is a major reason we are in this republican great recession. There were higher taxes under Clinton and unemployment was at its lowest ever. You are entitled to your opinion but not your own facts. I am sorry these FACTS seem to keep getting in the republicans way when the economy is discussed.

    You are simply wrong-higher taxes DO NOT mean higher unemployment-didn’t Bush cut taxes for the rich and even this year eliminate the estate tax altogether? How is the unemployment rate? Its hard to reason with someone who simply makes up their own facts.

  • We need more small business and US-made products. Lately it seems like we work to make more money and end up buying many things we don’t need–and some of those things are just to impress people we don’t even like. And almost all of those products come from overseas (or at least parts of them).

    Hard times are coming if we, the American People, don’t take charge and reverse the trends that the article mentioned. The good news is that there is a growing grassroots buy local trend here in the US. That means that there are opportunities for people without jobs to create their own jobs. Creating your own job is not so very difficult. I did just in the the recession of 1982 after I was laid-off, and where I lived at the time was very hard hit.

    I admit that our regulatory burden is absurd and getting worse. Too bad our representatives in Washington won’t fill out all the forms–then maybe they wouldn’t have time to pass more regulations.

    Many of the regulations are related to protecting the environment. As a scientist, I understand just how necessary that is. However, with more community-based businesses, fewer rules should be necessary.

    Now when you ask your stockbroker what to buy and he says canned goods and ammunition, then it is time to panic.

  • Keith

    Gary, you’re an idiot.

    Even raising taxes to 100% would not allow the US to pay it’s current obligations of some $50 Trillion over the next 10 years. When you add in State and Local debt, that number becomes some $80 Trillion.

    The problem is spending and unfunded promises, not taxation. Like a credit card junkie, raising an irresponsible Government’s income will just allow them to spend and borrow more to keep the game going.

    The road ahead, therefore, will not look like 1940’s playbook of borrow, tax, and spend. That was predicated on an economy that was still robust. We were the creditors to the world, the China of our age. Not any longer.

    Rather, look to the Russian economic collapse for a glimpse of our future. They went through 10 years of social and financial chaos as their Government was forced to cut services and shrink. When their economy finally limped out of that chaos and achieved a measure of stability, the Russian Government was only 10% of it’s Soviet-era size.

    Here’s a good blog that compares the Russian collapse to ours:

  • TheComingDepression

    Its quite funny that people honestly believe that Republicans or Democrats run this country. They are of the same group with the ELITE telling them what to do. Its dumb people that run out and vote believing they are going to change the government. ALL VOTING IS RIGGED. Proven. Google it. Stop living in a fantasy land, fools.

  • tax the corporations? don’t they just pass this cost to the consumer, smarten up and use the brain God gave you.

  • Gary’s full of #$%@

    Social “safety-nets” are largely to blame for this collapse. Why, take from the productive and give to the failure, they say. This was never a recipe for success. Nothing wrong with the rich, until they start screwing everyone else. We’re being screwed by the super-wealthy AND the government. The system is sick, it must be rooted out or replaced.

  • Gary – if the rich catch a whiff of what you have in mind, they’ll leave. They’ll go anywhere they want to and buy themselves a nice, stable, tax-free existence in one of the nicer areas of some third world hellhole. You stay classy, Gary.

  • bro43

    Gary, taking from others, wealthy or not, is not only morally wrong but also economic suicide. During the 19th century in America, the population enjoyed the greatest leap forward wrt living standards even though wealth was more heavily concentrated than now. The key difference between then and now is that then, the money flowed from the wealthy straight to the productive workers and now, a large portion of it travels through the government to the taxfeeders leaving less for the productive sector to earn. As a previous poster lamented, get government out of the equation and we all will see our conditions improve.

  • cdresearch

    Sobering assessment of a deep & basic problem. Too bad the solution offered is simply this:

    “We all need to try to become less dependent on the system and learn to take care of ourselves.”

    But don’t stable & productive societies have successful and relatively egalitarian “systems” that their citizens “depend” on for their society, and hence themselves, to remain stable and relatively prosperous? It would be silly to resort to just “taking care of ourselves”. Right? Indeed, as human beings, “we all need other people” in many respects in order for us to most successfully survive & prosper. After all, humans are clearly a “social” species and depend on each other for many things, including our ability to be economically successful. “Systems” are merely tools that members of a society create together that allows for any relatively large group of people to co-exist in an “interdependent” way for the mutual benefit of all involved. An example of a very large system is government. Thus, the idea should not be to encourage the majority of individual’s to further disassociate from the “system” (or the government) because the system appears destined to only “work” for a distinct minority, but on the contrary, the idea should be to encourage people into “collective action” to recreate the “system” (or government) so that it functions properly in the interests of the great majority. It seems to me that the human race would be heading down a long-term track to extinction if we began to resort in large numbers to just, “taking care of ourselves”. In fact, I would advise resisting the path toward personal, social, and economic alienation, and refuse to accept the so-called inevitability of a long-term decline in one’s quality of life as a member of the largest & oldest Western Democracy.

    While becoming more self-sufficient in all walks of life during the interim is indeed sound advice, it is utterly insufficient as a long-term solution, at least in part because many of the deepest problems we face are global in nature (e.g., global warming, global economy, etc.), and are severe enough that leaving them to sporadic individual actions could not possibly be expedient enough. Only the courage of sustained and collective political action has a chance at solving the long-term problems outlined in this article (which focused on economic issues). The elites have made a big mess of a lot of things, but it is still fixable and/or can at least be meaningfully mitigated, with determination, over time. The people will need to organize together in great numbers to put into place a system that checks the power of elites much more aggressively, so that the bounties of the world are unable to aggregate into the hands of the few, and instead flow more freely, with actual equal opportunity, into the hands of the many. People, from all walks of life just need to acknowledge and take responsibility for the power that they do have, as ordinary citizens, and begin to take collective action. And the sooner the better, because the global elites are making a bigger & bigger mess as we speak.

  • Awakened

    It doesn’t take a PHD to notice that all the money leaving this country will end badly. Billions for oil…gone. It’s used up and up in smoke. Billions for imports of foreign junk with no lasting value…broken or in the dump. Billions to foreign nations for wars, economic aid, and sent by aliens (illegal and resident) to support families back home. This money does not come back! It’s a huge ponzi scheme and we are the suckers. Banks skim money out of the markets (see Karl Denninger) and your savings are working to pay those huge bank bonuses not for your security. Are you better off now? You think times are tough, wait until the other shoe drops. (new mortgage defaults, shadow invnetory…) We are doomed but too hooked on Dancing With The Stars to notice.

  • To: Not So Mad Max: Your post exhibits the shortsightedness and basic lack of intelligence that has led us as a nation, in part, to the present brink of disaster. You jab at “the current administration in DC” as the source of today’s economic freefall, yet you cite losing four jobs in five years. Do the math Einstein, Obama has only been President for 20 months. You can’t have it both ways. Bush’s reign in the White House is exactly where this financial tsunami began. Why weren’t you criticising King George W. during those five years when you lost four jobs?

  • BDave

    While I think Gary’s solution may be a little simplistic, I’m not in the camp that seems to think the rich deserve every penny they earn and we should just leave them alone. History and a cross-global review shows that different societies at different times have had different wealth spreads for various reasons. Personally, I’m happily unemployed at the moment and planning my next steps. I really am not interested in working for a large corporation. As Gary has indicated, the wealth isn’t being spread around. If I work for a large corporation, I’m getting the modest share that our current market context deems appropriate. A lot of mega corporations have become mega-efficient in the sense that their revenues and profits have grown disproportionately faster than their total employment. To me, why I should help the CEO and the key investors buy yet another summer home? My personal hope is not to go that route but rather to start a business or freelance, but I think the problem is our corporate structure. Before I go there though, let me say I would raise the taxes on the rich some. If you do simple historical review, income and capital gains taxes have not been this low for the rich since the roaring 20’s. Since many of the rich get their wealth through capital gains, many wealthy people are actually paying a lower tax rate than those in the middle class. When I talk to a cousin of mine who is worth around $100 million, she doesn’t really care that much if the taxes are tweaked this way or that. And there is a simple reason for that–she knows she has more money than she could spend in 10 lifetimes. So, yeah, let’s raise the taxes some but . . . I would turn attention to developing new models for businesses (of which there are many experiments out there already). Then perhaps we can share more of the pie through business (rather than through government) and motivate people more in the process. I’m not motivated to make a Fortune 1000 CEO richer. If I have to go work for a large corporation, I’m going to do the minimum to ensure I stay employed and earn a decent living until I can get outta there.