Unemployment Length Of 34.4 Weeks Sets Longest U.S. Record. Whee!

Hey, this oughta cheer everyone up -- we set a new record! We're in the history books!

June 4 (Bloomberg) -- Unemployed Americans are facing the longest wait on record to find work, a sign faster economic growth is needed to reduce the jobless rate from close to a 26- year high.

Hey, I have an idea! Why don't we stop paying unemployment, cut jobless programs by 50%, and start slashing social programs to cut the deficit? That'll fix the economy!

The average duration of unemployment jumped to 34.4 weeks in May from 33 weeks the prior month and 16.5 weeks in December 2007, when the recession began, a Labor Department report showed today in Washington. The number of unemployed has almost doubled to 15 million since the start of worst slump since the 1930s.

“We need faster growth, because without it, we won’t get the jobs,” said Henry Mo, an economist at Credit Suisse in New York. “We are working in that direction, but it’ll take a very long time to resolve the long-term unemployment problem. The Federal Reserve acknowledges that the labor market will take time to fully recover.”

How, exactly, are we "working in that direction" when Wall Street is pressing for deficit reduction?

Private payrolls rose by 41,000 in May, today’s Labor Department report showed, trailing the 180,000 gain forecast by economists. Including government workers, employment rose by 431,000, boosted by a jump in hiring of temporary census workers. The jobless rate fell to 9.7 percent from 9.9 percent as Americans discouraged by the lack of available jobs dropped out of the labor force.

“If that level of private job creation continues, it will not make a substantial dent in the unemployment rate,” Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart told reporters today after a speech in Braselton, Georgia. “It is my view we will make progress on unemployment. Perhaps by the end of 2011, we will be below 9 percent.”

And really, it might even be 8 percent, if enough of us die from hunger -- or suicide. Isn't this a great country?

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