Speaking Friday in advance of signing a bill slashing $8.7 billion from the food stamp program, President Barack Obama hailed the dismal jobs report for January released earlier that day. Wall Street also reacted enthusiastically, rallying to send the Dow Jones Industrial average higher by 160 points.
The US economy created 113,000 jobs in January, according to Friday’s report, far fewer than the 189,000 economists had predicted. It was the second consecutive month of slow job growth, following December’s increase of 75,000.
There are mounting warnings by economists that the US confronts long-term economic stagnation and high unemployment into the indefinite future. The Associated Press ran a piece Sunday entitled “US economy may be stuck in slow lane for long run,” and last month former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers warned of “secular stagnation.”
Mass unemployment has become a permanent fact of life in the United States and much of the rest of the world.
* Officially, there are ten million unemployed people in the US, up from 6.8 million in 2007.