Caught in a Vicious Economic Cycle

Historically speaking, our American Society has viewed chronic joblessness as a defining attribute of the lower class. Those that were chronically jobless were known as the ones who fell outside of the mainstream occupational system. In theory, an individual’s earnings should provide a direct measure of one’s ingenuity.

In recent years, however, this viewpoint has largely vanished — and has instead been replaced with the understanding that available jobs are scarce. Along those same lines, available high paying jobs are seemingly non existent. Our country is currently plagued by a 9.1 percent unemployment rate, and in addition, only one job is available for every five job seekers. With the lack of available jobs, the high unemployment rate cannot dissipate.

The economic downturn began in the financial crisis of 2008, and in Bush administration policies. However, after three years in office, President Obama has to take responsibility for the current economic crisis and find a way to revive the economy. While Obama has unveiled a new jobs package, many wonder if the package will truly revive the economy or instead, seal Obama’s fate as a new statistic in the unemployment rate. Last month was the first time since February of 1945 that the government reported a net job change of zero. Yes, zero.

While some companies are hiring, the unfortunate reality is that other companies are cutting jobs precipitously. For job seekers and job holders alike, this fact alone points to one troubling reality…that there is no job security.

In the absence of job security, consumer spending has largely halted — leaving little left to drive the economy. Even minor positive signs of an economic revival are inconclusive, at best. According to the U.S. Commerce Department, retail sales increased 0.5 percent in July, the biggest increase since March. However, another report from the University of Michigan revealed that consumer confidence fell in August to its lowest level since May of 1980. It also showed that consumers expect the economy will be even worse six months from now.

Our economy is stuck in a vicious cycle of hardship and progress, and while it is true that these two factors go hand in hand — the progress must outweigh the hardship if we are ever to crawl out of the current economic crisis.

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