More people are out of work today than were last year, counting everyone too discouraged even to look for work. The number of workers filing new claims for jobless benefits rose last week to the highest level since February. Not counting temporary census workers, a total of only 12,000 net new private and public jobs were created in July -- when 125,000 are needed each month just to keep up with growth in the population of people who want and need to work.
Not since the government began to measure the ups and downs of the business cycle has such a deep recession been followed by such anemic job growth. Jobs came back at a faster pace even in March 1933 after the economy started to "recover" from the depths of the Great Depression. Of course, that job growth didn't last long. That recovery wasn't really a recovery at all. The Great Depression continued. And that's exactly my point. The Great Recession continues.
Even investors are beginning to see reality. Starting in February the stock market rallied because corporate profits were rising briskly. Investors didn't mind that profits were coming from payroll cuts, foreign sales, and gimmicks like share buy-backs -- none of which could be sustained over the long term. But the rally died in April when investors began to see how paper-thin these profits actually were. And now the stock market is back to where it was at the start of the year.
[...] Forget the Neo-Hoover deficit hawks who say we have to cut government spending and trim upcoming deficits. We didn't get into this mess and aren't remaining in it because of budget deficits. In fact, the only way to reduce long-term deficits is to restore jobs and growth so government revenues rise and expenses like unemployment insurance drop.
[...] The central problem is lack of demand -- and that's what has to be tackled.