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Discouraged America

- December 2, 2011

315,000 Americans Vanish From The Labor Market,  Discouraged By 34 Straight Months Of Unemployment Over 8 Percent

TODAY’S REPORT GETS JUICED AS ENOUGH AMERICANS TO FILL A CITY THE SIZE OF PITTSBURGH DROP OUT OF THE LABOR FORCE

The Associated Press“Still, one reason the unemployment rate fell so much was because roughly 315,000 people gave up looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed.” (“Unemployment Rate Falls To 8.6 Percent, Lowest In 2 ½ Years, As Hiring Improves,” The Associated Press, 12/2/11)

Jim Pethokoukis: “11%: That Would Be The U-3 Unemployment Rate If Laborforce Was Same Size As When Obama Took Office In Jan. 2009.” (Jim Pethokoukis, Twitter Feed, 12/2/11)

The Drop In Unemployment Is “Insufficient.” “While the economy's growth pace appears to have accelerated from the third quarter's 2 percent annual rate, it is still insufficient to cut deeply into the high unemployment rate, and Europe's festering debt crisis poses a big threat.” (Lucia Mutikani, “Jobless Rate Drops To 8.6 Percent, Hiring Picks Up,” Reuters, 12/2/11)

Slate’s Matthew Yglesias: “Decreasing Unemployment By Shrinking The Labor Force Is Not Exactly Winning The Future.” (Matty Yglesias, Twitter Feed, 12/2/11)

Reuters“A worrisome drop in the size of the U.S. workforce means that even with a big decline in the unemployment rate in November, it's still not time to break out the champagne.” (“U.S. Shrinking Workforce A Worrisome Sign,” Reuters, 12/2/11)

  • Reuters: “Those who exited the workforce, many of whom gave up on looking for work, outnumbered the 278,000 people who found jobs …” (“U.S. Shrinking Workforce A Worrisome Sign,” Reuters, 12/2/11)

The Associated Press“Still, one reason the unemployment rate fell so much was because roughly 315,000 people gave up looking for work and were no longer counted as unemployed.” (“Unemployment Rate Falls To 8.6 Percent, Lowest In 2 ½ Years, As Hiring Improves,” The Associated Press, 12/2/11)

The New York Times’ Binyamin Appelbaum: “Seems to me the BLS headline should say, ‘310k drop from labor force, 120k find jobs.’” (Binyamin Appelbaum, Twitter Feed, 12/2/11)

Since President Obama Took Office, The Unemployment Rate Has Increased From 7.8 Percent To 8.6 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 12/2/11)

OBAMANOMICS TAKES A GRIM TOLL ON AMERICA’S FAMILIES, DRAGGING THE MIDDLE CLASS TO NEW LOWS

Families Who Were Once Middle Class Are Now Turning To Food Stamps, Food Banks, And Subsidized Lunches To Find Enough To Eat

“The Face Of Hunger In America Is Changing. It’s A Little More Ex-Middle Class, A Little More Desperate…” “The face of hunger in America is changing. It’s a little more ex-middle class, a little more desperate and there are a lot more mouths to feed, people who run the nation's food banks say.  ‘We’re seeing a lot more families, many who are running out of money and benefits because of long-term unemployment,’ said Bill Clark, executive director of food bank Philabundance.” (Eve Tahmincioglu, “Lingering Joblessness Taxes Nation’s Food Banks,” MSNBC’s “The Bottom Line,” 12/1/11)

“The Emptying Of Food Banks Is Another Indicator Of The Depth Of The Recession And Its Long Term Impacts.” “’The emptying of food banks is another indicator of the depth of the recession and its long term impacts,’ said Jerry McElroy, economics professor with Saint Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind., who has been watching the food bank crisis and blames a big part of it on long-term unemployment. ‘I was astounded looking at the food bank situation. It’s a national phenomenon across almost every state in the union.’” (Eve Tahmincioglu, “Lingering Joblessness Taxes Nation’s Food Banks,” MSNBC’s “The Bottom Line,” 12/1/11)

  • “We Have Experienced Many Individuals For The First Time -- People Who Never Thought They’d Need Help.” “And the food bank clientele is also changing, she said, from people who’ve been teetering on poverty in low-wage jobs, to professionals who were solidly middle class. ‘We have experienced many individuals for the first time -- people who never thought they’d need help,’ she said.” (Eve Tahmincioglu, “Lingering Joblessness Taxes Nation’s Food Banks,” MSNBC’s “The Bottom Line,” 12/1/11)

In 2010, Food Pantry Usage Increased By 46 Percent. “Indeed, food banks across the country are seeing large increases in the numbers of people looking for help. Last year food pantry usage nationally jumped 46 percent to 37 million people, according to hunger relief charity Feeding America. And the crowds haven’t let up. The Connecticut Food Bank, which serves 300,000 people annually and serves six of the state’s eight counties, saw usage jump 30 percent in 2008 and the increases never abated. ‘It’s this constancy that is so disturbing, and we’re not seeing an end in sight,’ said Nancy Carrington, CEO and president of the food bank.” (Eve Tahmincioglu, “Lingering Joblessness Taxes Nation’s Food Banks,” MSNBC’s “The Bottom Line,” 12/1/11)

Millions Of Children, Whose Parents Used To Be Middle Class, Now Qualify For Free Or Low-Cost Meals At School. “Millions of American schoolchildren are receiving free or low-cost meals for the first time as their parents, many once solidly middle class, have lost jobs or homes during the economic crisis, qualifying their families for the decades-old safety-net program.” (Sam Dillon, “Line Grows Long For Free Meals At U.S. Schools,” The New York Times, 11/29/11)

21 Million Children Now Received Subsidized Lunches. “The number of students receiving subsidized lunches rose to 21 million last school year from 18 million in 2006-7, a 17 percent increase, according to an analysis by The New York Times of data from the Department of Agriculture, which administers the meals program.” (Sam Dillon, “Line Grows Long For Free Meals At U.S. Schools,” The New York Times, 11/29/11)

The Increase In Subsidized Meals Is “A Direct Reflection Of The Hardships American Families Are Facing.” “‘These are very large increases and a direct reflection of the hardships American families are facing,’ said Benjamin Senauer, a University of Minnesota economist who studies the meals program, adding that the surge had happened so quickly “that people like myself who do research are struggling to keep up with it.’” (Sam Dillon, “Line Grows Long For Free Meals At U.S. Schools,” The New York Times, 11/29/11)

“We’re Seeing People Who Were Never Eligible Before, Never Had A Need.” “In the Rockdale County Schools in Conyers, Ga., east of Atlanta, the percentage of students receiving subsidized lunches increased to 63 percent this year from 46 percent in 2006. ‘We’re seeing people who were never eligible before, never had a need,’ said Peggy Lawrence, director of school nutrition.” (Sam Dillon, “Line Grows Long For Free Meals At U.S. Schools,” The New York Times, 11/29/11)

The Housing Market Continue To Struggle, Signaling A “Grim Winter”

Home Prices Are Expected “To Remain Under Pressure.” “‘Ultimately we continue to expect home prices to remain under pressure. This report is generally consistent with that idea. The supply-demand imbalance that exists in the housing market will continue,’ said Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets in New York.” (“S&P/Case Schiller Index September 2011: Home Prices In 20 Cities Fell As Market Continues To Struggle,” The Huffington Post, 11/29/11)

“Home Prices Declined In September And Are Poised For A Grim Winter.” “Home prices declined in September and are poised for a grim winter as banks step up their efforts to take back and sell foreclosed properties. Prices fell 0.6% from August, according to the widely watched Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller index of 20 major metropolitan areas, breaking a five-month run of increases during the spring and summer, when higher sales volumes typically firm up prices.” (Nick Timiraos and Josh Mitchell, “Home Prices Edge Downward,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/30/11)

“Nobody Should Be Surprised By Further Home-Value Losses.” “‘Nobody should be surprised by further home-value losses in the remaining balance of this year and into next year,’ said Stan Humphries, chief economist at Zillow Inc., an online real-estate firm.”  (Nick Timiraos and Josh Mitchell, “Home Prices Edge Downward,” The Wall Street Journal, 11/30/11)

It’s No Wonder An Increasing Amount Of Americans Are Economically Insecure

More Than One In Five Americans Are Economically Insecure. “More than one in five Americans saw at least a quarter of their available household income vanish in the Great Recession, yet lacked a sufficient financial cushion, according to a report released Monday. The situation has left them economically insecure, according to the report, which updates an Economic Security Index created by Jacob Hacker, a political science professor at Yale.” (Tami Luhby, “More Than 1 In 5 Americans Are Economically Insecure,” CNN Money, 11/28/11)

  • Americans Remain “Deeply Pessimistic” About The Economy And The State Of The Nation. “One year out before President Barack Obama faces voters in his bid for re-election, he encounters an American public that remains deeply pessimistic about the state of the country and its economy, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.” (Mark Murray, “NBC Poll: Despite National Pessimism, Obama Tops GOP Foes,” MSNBC11/7/11)

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