BY BRIAN WILLIAMS
Despite claims that the economy is starting to rebound, millions of workers face diminishing prospects for finding a job. Long-term unemployment in the United States is at its highest level since figures on this were first recorded.
In January, 6.3 million workers had been unemployed for six months or longer, according to the U.S. Labor Department. “That is more than double the toll in the next-worst period in the early 1980s,” the New York Times reported February 21.
Long-term unemployment for women between 45 and 64 years is up dramatically. “In 1983, after a deep recession, women in that range made up only 7 percent of those who had been out of work for six months or longer,” the Times said. “Last year, they made up 14 percent.”
Most companies are not seeking to hire new workers, but to increase the “productivity” they extract from their current workforce through increased speedup, thereby making working conditions more dangerous.
At Ford Motor Co., for example, in spite of a 25 percent increase in U.S. sales in January, the bosses plan to further cut the workforce—a jobless “recovery.” Only about 300 workers accepted a buyout proposal last month and the company said it will cut a shift of 900 workers from its Michigan Mustang factory in July, raising those laid off to 1,500. Ford has cut 47 percent of its North American workforce since 2006.
The government has no serious program to provide jobs to the millions of unemployed. Instead, the Barack Obama administration’s jobs proposal gives tax breaks to businesses and bailout funds to community banks.