Economics

January Unemployment Figures: Uglier Than the Early 1990s

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It's thousands not millions, but still, bursting credit bubbles continue to rack up a toll:

Recession-battered employers eliminated 598,000 jobs in January, the most since the end of 1974, and catapulted the unemployment rate to 7.6 percent. The grim figures were further proof that the nation's job climate is deteriorating at an alarming clip with no end in sight.

The Labor Department's report, released Friday, showed the terrible toll the drawn-out recession is having on workers and companies. It also puts even more pressure on President Barack Obama to revive the economy.

The latest net total of job losses was far worse than the 524,000 that economists expected. Job reductions in November and December also were deeper than previously reported.

If that "revival" is expected to come through more credit and monetary expansion and improvident spending and racking up further impossible debt that others are expected to take on at low interest rates, well, good luck.

Unemployment figures, in annual averages, since 1948. 1992 was the last year approaching this current rate, with 7.5. Worth bearing in mind that anyone over 33 years old has lived through worse–from 1975-83, the annual average was above or equal to 7.6 for six of those years. If we can just manage to avoid a hyperinflationary spiral, economies do tend to revive in a world where people still have desires for goods and services and the ability to work to provide them. But centralizing more and more current and future resources in the service of political concerns in Washington isn't the key to that.