The Economy is Better, Except that No One Has a Job

The LA Times reports on the economy today:

Improving economic data is making the prospects more likely that the Federal Reserve will start tapering its massive bond buying next month, a move that suggests the recovery is on solid ground….Economic growth unexpectedly picked up in the second quarter, though it still remained relatively weak. Corporate earnings are largely stronger. Consumer confidence is back to pre-recession levels.

This is all true, and it’s all conventional wisdom. But it really shows how low our expectations have gotten. Take a look at the following two charts. The first one, from CBPP, shows that although the headline unemployment rate is down, this is mostly due to large numbers of people dropping out of the workforce and not being counted anymore:

The second one, from Pew, shows the employment rate specifically for workers under 30:

The employment rate of young people cratered between 2007 and 2010, and it hasn’t rebounded since. The same report shows that young people are increasingly living at home—hardly a surprise if they can’t find a job. And yet, our recovery is supposedly on solid ground. If this isn’t the soft bigotry of low expectations, I don’t know what is.


Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend