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I know it’s not high on our elected officials’ priority list right now, if it’s even on the list at all, but it’s still around. A little thing called unemployment. Remember that? A few statistics the actors in the debt ceiling soap opera might want to consider during a break from their bickering:

The official unemployment rate, the one juggled to make things look better than they actually are, is currently 9.2%. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Not counted in that number are the 8.6 million who are working part-time when they’d rather have full-time work, and the 4 million who have given up looking. Add those to the mix and the number goes to 16.2%,

As of May, 6.2 million had been out of work for more than six months and more than 4 million haven’t work in more than a year…Of those who had been unemployed for more than six months, slightly more than 10% found new jobs. Nearly 19% dropped out of the workforce.”

Almost twice as likely to drop out of the work force than find a job. How sad is that?

The average duration of unemployment is 40 weeks (click to enlarge):

The number of people not in the labor force is at an all-time high:

The employment to population ratio is at its lowest point since the early 1980’s:

If that wasn’t bad enough, state and local governments may cut nearly 500,000 more jobs by the end of this year.

For those fortunate enough to find a job, that job is likely to pay less than what they had.

“Middle income jobs have been replaced by low-income jobs, which now make up 41% of total employment.”

Employee compensation relative to GDP is at its lowest point in over 50 years:


“U.S. workers averaged $46,742 in 2010, up 2.6% from 2009. A June GovernanceMetrics analysis found average compensation among S&P 500 CEOs rose to $12 million in 2010, up 18% from 2009 — and that’s not counting the potential multimillion-dollar value of stock or stock options, which are granted at set prices and provide holders profits as stock values rise.”

We now return you to the regularly scheduled debt ceiling theatrics, joined in progress.