News Release

* Jobless Recovery? * Forecast * Vacation Starvation?

ROBERT POLLIN
Professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and author of the forthcoming book Contours of Descent: U.S. Economic Fractures and the Landscape of Global Austerity, Pollin said today: “Recently there has been much talk, and some signs, of a recovery out of the long stagnation that has gripped the U.S. economy since the stock market bubble burst three years ago. In fact the evidence of a recovery is mixed. But it is also true that economies will in some sense always recover from three years of a slump. The nature of the recovery is the more basic question at hand. The labor market shows no job growth at all. Recent unemployment figures showed a small decline. But this was because large numbers of people have given up looking for work and therefore have dropped out of the labor market altogether. Moreover, the huge fiscal crisis that state and local governments are now experiencing means that education, health and services for the poor are being cut to the bone. The stock market has been rising, due in large part to Bush having cut taxes on dividends. So we now have the government attempting to finance a stock market recovery while letting state and local governments starve. This is therefore a recovery that is both vulnerable to a replay of the financial excesses of the Clinton bubble, while also failing miserably by any minimal standard of fairness.”

JANE D’ARISTA
Director of programs at the Financial Markets Center, D’Arista said today: “Welcome as they are, data on faster growth for the U.S. economy also reveal its fragility. Employment is not expanding enough to ensure spending can continue at current levels after the mortgage refinancing boom dries up. The dollar exchange rate has fallen to a point that benefits some exporters, but imports continue to flow in from Asian countries that peg their currencies to the dollar, maintaining pressure on U.S. manufacturers and their employees. The high level of household and business debt and ongoing U.S. reliance on foreign savings to finance that debt is a particular source of vulnerability. Replacing foreign with domestic savings will cut spending and growth. At 25 percent of GDP, America’s net external debt now means that the U.S. will be increasingly affected by the dynamics of the global economy.”
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GABE SINCLAIR
Author of the novel The Four Hour Day, Sinclair works as an expert machinist. He said today: “While we seem to be having a ‘jobless recovery,’ many Americans are overworked. American workers work six to eight weeks longer than their German counterparts. Many Americans who are working are scared, they feel they have to show their bosses that they are productive. Even when Americans go on vacation, they are frequently ‘working vacations.’ If we all worked productive jobs, we’d all work four hours a day. If you look at what needs to be produced, and you put all adults to work, you end up with a very low number of hours that people actually have to work. The question is how to get there. One thing that’s damaged the situation is the export of jobs has damaged the union movement, so people are more insecure. Another is outsourcing, particularly the Bush administration’s attack on the civil service. That’s led to less unionization and less job security.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-916