In the Media | February 2015

The Workers' Think Tank

By Sasha Abramsky
The Nation, February 2, 2015. All Rights Reserved.

By many measures, the American economy has recovered from the 2008 implosion. The stock market is soaring, housing values in many markets have rebounded and GDP is growing at a healthy rate of more than 4 percent. Compared to Spain and Greece, where debt, mass unemployment and hardship remain widespread following the Eurozone crisis, America looks to be on easy street.

Yet scratch below the surface and you’ll see that the United States still has a considerable economic problem. While the official unemployment rate has fallen to 5.6 percent, the lowest since 2008, the percentage of the adult population participating in the labor market remains far lower than it was at the start of the recession. At least in part, headline unemployment numbers look respectable because millions of Americans have grown so discouraged about their prospects of finding work that they no longer try, and thus are no longer counted among the unemployed. Depending on the measures, only 59 to 63 percent of the working-age population is employed, far below recent historical norms.

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