Well, it's official: The "Great Recession" is now the longest recession since the Great Depression. Not only is it the longest - it is the deepest. As capitalism continues to falter, the recessions get longer and longer. The last longest one lasted the majority of George W. Bush's presidency. As you can see by the red line that signifies the current recession, we've got a long way to go before workers can consider the economy "recovered." Of course, we also have to consider how much worse and prolonged the crisis would be without the weak efforts and stimulus and the auto bail out. And how much the Republican plans for the economy would have severely aggravated the economic crisis for working people if they had won out.
It's Not the Fault of Workers
Last week we posted and article that showed a link between education and unemployment rates. However, it is clear that even those with advanced education and experience also have trouble finding work. And an article in US News and World Report shows even business sources question attacking unemployment benefits. Rep. Rangel (D-NY) recently wrote an article on unemployment and poverty in the US, illustrating that unemployment insurance is an individual worker's insurance program, not a handout. Jobs are slowly returning, but what sort of jobs have been making a comeback? According to a data brief (PDF) from the National Employment Law Project, "employment growth has been concentrated in lower-wage occupations, with minimal growth in mid-wage occupations and net losses in higher-wage occupations." In the same vein, Bloomberg agrees that low-wage jobs (like the ones Romney pats himself on the back for creating) aren't helping to end the recession.
On the Legislative Front
An article in the Wall Street Journal reports that more than a dozen states are considering legislation to make it illegal for companies to discriminate against the unemployed. This would mean that bosses could no longer legally put "must be currently employed" in the want ad, nor refuse work to someone who is unemployed. Unfortunately, in Colorado an unemployment discrimination bill failed to pass thanks to the Republican-controlled House there.
Meanwhile, we're seeing good news reported in the People's World from Oklahoma and Illinois. In Tulsa, city workers win fight against privatization and in Chicago, workers at Republic Windows occupy again and win again.