This is bad news - not just for the many, many Americans who are still struggling to get by, but for the long-term economic health of the country. People not working are people not paying payroll taxes, and without that revenue, it's bad news for Social Security and other federal programs. That's why a real jobs program is necessary:
The economy is projected to add jobs this year at a pace too sluggish to make much of a dent in unemployment, according to a new White House forecast that suggests President Obama's advisers expect the jobless problem to be a fact of life throughout his term.
With the release of the annual Economic Report of the President, the Obama administration laid out a sweeping economic agenda that includes overhauling health care, restructuring financial regulation and dealing with long-term budget deficits. But the backdrop for all those initiatives is an economy that, if the administration's forecast is correct, will be functioning well below its potential for years to come.
The nation will add an average of 95,000 jobs a month this year, according to the forecast, a bit below the number that economists think needs to be generated just to keep up with population growth. The unemployment rate is projected to come down quite slowly after that, averaging 8.2 percent in 2012, when Obama will be up for reelection.