According to a report released by the U.S. Labor Department, unemployment has fallen to a two-year low of 8.8 percent nationwide.
Payrolls increased by 216,000 workers last month after a revised 194,000 gain the prior month, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Economists projected a March gain of 190,000, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The jobless rate dropped from 8.9 percent in February, the fourth straight decrease.
So, does that mean that we’re in a recovery? Well, it depends on what you consider a recovery. The report also revealed that the “underemployment” rate was a whopping 15.7 percent. That means that over 15 percent of the U.S. population is underemployed, making low wages or working part-time when they prefer full-time work. Also, many of the jobs added have been added in the service industries which tend to be low-pay with little or no benefits. There was a recent article at CNN Money which spoke about unpaid work being the future because so many people were hungry for jobs that they were willing to work for free in order to have a chance at getting paid work in the future. Is that the type of job recovery we want? We don’t think so.
Unemployed workers today are still numerous and remaining unemployed for longer than they have in the past. Fort-five percent of unemployed individuals remain out of work for 27 weeks or more. When they finally do return to the workforce, they are often underpaid and at risk for foreclosure, defaulting on their debts and needing the protection of bankruptcy because they simply cannot make ends meet.