Here's my somewhat cranky response this morning's employment report showing that the unemployment rate ticked up, and that the broader U-6 measure went up even more. There was some private sector job growth, but not nearly enough to keep up with population growth, and far from enough to make any inroads into reemploying the millions of people who have lost jobs:
My fear isn't a double dip as much as it is that job and GDP growth will remain stagnant. The central valley in California is a good metaphor. It's narrow east to west, but very long north to south (think of the shape of the state). We went down into the valley as we went into the recession, and the question for me has always been whether we are heading east to west so that we will climb out of the valley relatively quickly, or north to south as we trudge along at the bottom of the valley for considerable time before finally climbing slowly back to full employment. I've been warning for a long time that it looks like north to south, and the fact that we've had essentially no growth for a year now, and no hint of change any time soon, makes the north to south fear very real. The administration is supposed to propose new policies to try to help us reach the other side faster, but the timing of that effort -- way too late except as a political ploy -- is one of the thing's I'm cranky about.