Weekly jobless claims have soared again to 573,000. That’s an annual rate of almost 30 million workers, or 22% of the labor force, losing their jobs every year! The pace of these layoffs is breathtaking and accelerating at the very time of year when job gains are usually their strongest.
It’s worth noting that, at the peak of the Great Depression in 1933, unemployment reached 25%. While our official unemployment rate is currently only 6.7%, the way that figure is calculated has been revised many times since 1933, making the data appear better than it is. Many economists point out that, if we include everyone who is looking for work, has given up looking, or has taken part-time jobs for lack of anything better, unemployment is actually more like 12-13%. And it’s climbing fast.
This data is a very bad sign that the economy is deteriorating rapidly and that the unthinkable – a depression – is becoming a stronger possibility with each passing day.