Recession/Depression, Something/I'm Guessin'

Continuing the discussion from Is Everyone Else Depressed?:

The younguns I’ve spoken with have been out of a job, on average, Sox months before they’ve found employment. Not enough entry-level positions.

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I’ve got 20 years in my specialty, more than that in IT overall and here in Japan there just are not a lot of jobs in IT security above the entry/senior monkey level. I spent all of 2009 farting into the same pillow. 2014 I spent about 8 months unemployed as well. I guess I’m really lucky to have been a kid in the Carter recession because that taught me at an early age that sometimes it gets rough for a while.

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Six months between jobs or between graduation and first job has been the norm since the recession under Bush Sr. in 1990-91 – it’s one of the on-going outcomes of Reaganism, interrupted only by the first dotcom boom (not the kind of thing a healthy economy should rely upon). Demographics, automation, offshoring, hoarding at the top, etc. are going to make the American labour market even tighter than it already is going forward.

If the same people continue to be in charge in both parties over the next 15 years I see the U.S. reaching a permanent 20%+ unemployment rate and responding to the presence of a permanent unnecessariat with a (likely nasty and exploitative neoliberal version of a) UBI and more distractions – so bread and circuses, basically.

The young people I know personally are getting jobs after six months or sometimes a bit earlier, but that’s mostly due to the schools they went to and their social capital and connections and (for some) the fact that they got STEM degrees that involved paid internships. That kind of privilege is far from the norm in America.


The thing I learned from that time period was that the nightly news on economics is subject to the same “if it bleeds it leads” as anything else, and as such it’s unreliable and gives a skewed outlook. If all one did since the 70s is pay attention to the headlines, you’d be convinced that we’re all unemployed and no jobs are left. Laying off 1,000 makes a headline, but 1000 small businesses adding 2 jobs goes relatively unnoticed.

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