Sleepwalking through America’s Unemployment Crisis
Mohamed A. El-Erian
It is past time for the US to wake up and confront in a holistic fashion its unemployment crisis. As everyone who has ever had an unpalatable job knows, shutting off the alarm and pulling the blanket over one’s head is not a solution.
NEWPORT BEACH – It was relegated to the Q&A session, rather than featured prominently in the opening statement, at last week’s first-ever press conference of US Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke. It is an issue that too many in Washington, DC are willing to dismiss as “transitory,” despite visible evidence to the contrary. It is extremely vulnerable to high oil and food prices. And it undermines the operational assumptions that underpin the long-standing characterization of the US economy as vibrant and responsive.
The issue is the scope and composition of unemployment in America – a problem that is yet to be sufficiently recognized for its increasingly detrimental impact on the country’s social fabric, its economic potential, and its already-fragile fiscal position and debt dynamics.
Let us start with the facts:
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