In the meantime, here are 15 statistics about the jobs market that put the jobs crisis in perspective:
1. 9.1 percent.
Today's unemployment rate is the highest it has been since 1982.
2. 131.1 million.
The total number of jobs held by Americans in August. In
3. 58 percent.
That's the number of workers currently employed as a percentage of the work-age population. In
4. 11.5 million.
Currently, there are 11.5 million fewer job holders than there were in 2007 before the recession began. "That's the true depth of our jobs deficit," O'Keefe says.
5. 6 million.
That's how many workers have been out of work for at least six months and have looked for a job within the last 30 days. They are called the "long-term unemployed." This group accounts for 43 percent of the total number of unemployed. "That's the most striking statistic," says
6. 40 weeks.
The average duration of unemployment is almost a full year.
7. 16.7 percent.
The unemployment crisis has affected races differently. This is the unemployment rate for blacks. Compare that with 11.3 percent for Hispanics and 8 percent for whites.
8. 25.4 percent.
Young people have also been hard-hit. About a quarter of teenagers are unemployed. In comparison, the unemployment rate for adult men is 8.9 percent, and for adult women, it's 8.0 percent.
9. 250,000 to 300,000.
That's the estimated number of jobs many economists say the economy needs to add monthly to begin to push down
the unemployment rate over the long term. Since the so-called "jobs recovery" began in
10. 2.6 million.
That's the number of people who are considered marginally attached to the labor force, up 200,000 from a year earlier. According to the
Of that 2.6 million, almost a million are considered "discouraged workers," unemployed individuals who have given up looking for work. Once the economy begins to add jobs at a more robust pace, the unemployment rate may actually rise because discouraged workers will once again begin to look for jobs. "If we really got substantial job growth around 200,000 to 300,000 jobs a month, which is what we need for a healthy jobs growth that can deal with new entrances to the labor market and start putting people back to work ... then people start to become more optimistic and some of the discouraged workers begin to look for work," says Schreft, who is also a former economist and vice president at the Kansas City Federal Reserve. "They're not counted right now in the 9.1 percent unemployment rate, but they would then become 'unemployed' because they would be people who are actively looking for work."
12. 9.6 percent.
Who says college isn't worth it? The unemployment rate for those whose highest level of education is high school stands at 9.6 percent. For those with a bachelor's degree or higher, the rate is only 4.3 percent.
13. 8.6 to 8.9 percent.
That's where the Federal Reserve expects the unemployment rate to be at the end of this year. Many private economists have offered much more dire predictions. For instance,
14. 18.5 percent.
Earlier this month, Gallup found that 18.5 percent of the total workforce remains underemployed, meaning they're unemployed or working part-time but they want to work full-time. That level is basically unchanged from a year ago. "Focusing merely on unemployment instead of underemployment tends to ignore the hardship facing the millions of Americans forced to work part time," says
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