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The state of labor on Labor Day 2012

LABOR Day 2012 is a far cry from Labor Day 2007, when jobs were more plentiful and the housing industry was booming. Within a year of that holiday, the housing bubble burst and financial markets worldwide collapsed.

Governments scrambled to buttress the banking

industry in a desperate attempt to stave off mass unemployment. That failed.

The Bush stimulus of $150 billion in the spring of 2008, the first Obama stimulus of $787 billion in 2009-2010, and the smaller Obama stimuli of about $150 billion each in the rollback of Social Security taxes in 2011 and 2012 also failed.

Priming the pump at a dry hole won't work.

Using the most recent data, here is the state of American labor:

  • In July, 143 million Americans had jobs. Five years earlier, 147 million did.
  • In July, unemployment stood at 8.3 percent. Five years earlier, the rate was 4.7 percent.
  • In July, 64.3 percent of adults "participated" in the labor force. Five years earlier, 66.8 percent did.
  • Had the participation rate remained the same, unemployment in July would have topped 10 percent.
  • Family income slipped by 7.7 percent from 2007 to 2010.
  • Median net worth dropped 38.9 percent from 2007 to 2010 - reflecting the drop in the housing market.
  • The poverty rate rose from 12.5 percent in 2007 to 16 percent in 2010.
  • The number of Americans living in poverty rose from 37.3 million in 2007 to 49 million in 2010.
  • That three-year increase in people living in poverty is equal to the entire population of Ohio.
  • 53 percent of adults 18-24 live with their parents.
  • 29 percent of adults 25-34 live with their parents.
  • Families with student loan debt rose from 15.2 percent in 2007 to 19.2 percent in 2010.

Clearly, this jobless recovery hits baby boomers hard. Just as they prepare to retire, their nest eggs have imploded with the drop in the housing market - and their children have come home.

The solutions offered over the last five years have been as ineffective as they have been expensive. The national debt has soared by 60 percent in just five years, topping $16 trillion - $16 million million - for the first time.

On this Labor Day, the nation needs something tried and true. Americans need to replace Hope and Change with Grit and Determination.

And Jobs.



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