The 2008 financial crisis and subsequent “Great Recession” has caused hardship to many working women and men, families and communities. Entering 2012, global unemployment is still high with 200 million people unemployed. Youth have been particularly vulnerable to the recession. In 2011, 75 million youth were unemployed (or 12.7%) compared to 70 million in 2007. A recent ILO report – Global Employment Trends 2012
– also notes that high youth unemployment is likely to cause long-term consequences like lower future wages and distrust of economic, as well as political system. Approximately 80 percent of the global population remains without any access to social protection and 900 million workers still do not earn enough to keep themselves and their families above the $2-a-day poverty level. In the next 10 years, more than 400 million new jobs will be needed to absorb new entrants into the labor force, and still more to reverse the unemployment caused by the crisis. Since the summer of 2011, the global economy growth decelerated as uncertainty spread beyond advanced economies, which shadows the prospect of strong job creation.
The US Context
In the US, the recession lasted 18 months from December 2007 to June 2009 (see National Bureau of Economic Research
) --- the longest recession since World War II. The employment rate started creeping up from 5% in December 2007 to 9.5% at the end of the Recession in June 2009, with the unemployment level increasing from 7.6 million to 14.7 million people during the same period. The unemployment rate hit 10% in October 2009, or 15.4 million Americans compared to its pre-recession bottom of 6.7 million in October 2006, making a total job loss of 8.7 million (BLS
Although the US economy is officially out of the recession, growth rates have not been enough to sustain a rapid reduction of the unemployment rate. The most recent BLS employment data casts shadow over the prospects of the job market recovery. The unemployment rate at 8.2% remains strikingly higher than the pre-crisis months (5% in December 2007). Moreover, as noted by Brookings Institute
, long term unemployment remains acute in 2012: 43% of the unemployed report that they have been looking for employment for more than 6 months, which is an unprecedented rate of long-term unemployment.