America should have added 20 million jobs; instead, we lost 3.4 million

Bob Herbert writes:

Because of normal growth in the working-age population, the labor force increases by roughly 150,000 to 200,000 people per month.

America must add about 2 million jobs a year to keep pace with the growing labor force. Over the course of a decade, that’s 20 million jobs. Instead:

Mr. McMillion tells us that there are now 3.4 million fewer private-sector jobs in the U.S. than there were a decade ago.


Nearly a million and a half people have been out of work for at least 99 weeks…

With 14.6 million people officially jobless, and 5.9 million who have stopped looking but say they want a job, and 8.5 million who are working part time but would like to work full time, you end up with nearly 30 million Americans who cannot find the work they want and desperately need.

The system is working brilliantly for Steve Jobs and Warren Buffett. It’s clearly broken for the rest of us.

We’ve got an army of 30 million frustrated, desperate people, many of whom have talents we could be using as tutors or teachers or artists. Could we please focus government spending on creating jobs? The opportunities are endless. For example, unemployed programmers could be paid to create free open-source software, esp. educational software. How about starting with software that lets Americans file their taxes without paying Intuit’s TurboTax tax?

Posted by James on Tuesday, August 10, 2010