As I write this post, I am entering my second month of unemployment. I had been at my last job for 10 years when I was unceremoniously let go. Of course I was not alone last month; I was one of 533,000 who have joined the now 10.3 million unemployed. The picture looks quite dismal.
The horrible thing is that the unemployment picture is actually much worse that the above picture would lead you to believe. You see, unemployment figures only measure the number of people who file unemployment claims with the government. A more sobering metric is percent employment: in other words, # people employed/population. Granted, this includes (as far as I know) children and retirees, but it also includes the multitudes who no longer qualify for unemployment benefits, or never qualified because they were employed part time, or have just given up looking for work. I know people in those categories.
Below is a chart (which I shamelessly stole from Paul Krugman) showing the trend of percent employment over the last 10 years.
What I'm seeing above is an honest representation of what the Bush XLIII presidency has done to the American worker. Bush has been a complete failure and his riddance is beyond good. But I'm not a veritable pessimist and I do have a great deal of hope for the future.