Job creation rising, but job losses continue
The lack of job hiring may be more troubling than job losses, and it could take a while for the unemployment rate to slow down.
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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testified before Congress saying he expects to see new jobs appearing near the end of this year or early next year. He warned, however, that it could take a while for the unemployment rate to slow down.
On "The Takeaway," "New York Times" magazine writer Roger Lowenstein said he sees the lack of job hiring as more troubling than job losses.
"As brutal as the job losses have been, there are only so many people that could be fired or lose their jobs before everything shuts down," said Lowenstein. "And eventually that process will stop; but over time what regenerates the economy are new jobs, and over 10 to 15 years a great portion of the jobs that we have are jobs that never used to exist ... and if for some reason we stop creating jobs, the next generation, and even this one, is in trouble."
Boreas Van Nouhuys lost his job last November as a carpenter in Kauai, Hawaii, and is still looking for work.
"It was booming for many years on Kauai, with a lot of construction on high-end homes," said Van Nouhuys. "Wealthy people would come here, build vacation homes -- that was the kind of work I was doing. And all of a sudden, things started to fall through, and jobs that were lined up got put off or cancelled, and people started getting laid off and I got laid off.
"I did get a temporary job with the census bureau for a while, and that was something that kept me busy for a while, which is good. But as far as construction, there's not too much. A lot of people in my position have been picking up smaller jobs just to try to keep busy; but as far as steady work, there's a lot less."
Fred Winner runs a welding company in Western Ohio. He's had to lay off employees and cut hours, "We're probably down to 35 [hours] tops per week ... we used to work 40, 45, 50, last year and the year before."
Lowenstein says fewer work hours are another indicator that the lack of hiring will be prolonged, "If people are working fewer hours -- and actually in the last month's survey, we're down to a record low ... 33 hours a week for the people who are working. Presumably then, when there is more welding to do, and there is a little more construction work ... the people who already have jobs will work a few hours longer each week, and we'll sort of have to run through them, get them back up to speed -- the people who are still working -- before we actually start looking for new hires and giving new people jobs."
"The Takeaway" is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what’s ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH.Rockefeller Foundation and its Campaign for American Workers.