The New York Times is reporting Spending Stalls and Businesses Slash U.S. Jobs.

As the financial crisis crimps demand for American goods and services, the workers who produce them are losing their jobs by the tens of thousands.

In just the last two weeks, the list of companies announcing their intention to cut workers has read like a Who’s Who of corporate America: Merck, Yahoo, General Electric, Xerox, Pratt & Whitney, Goldman Sachs, Whirlpool, Bank of America, Alcoa, Coca-Cola, the Detroit automakers and nearly all the airlines.

When October’s job losses are announced on Nov. 7, three days after the presidential election, many economists expect the number to exceed 200,000. The current unemployment rate of 6.1 percent is likely to rise, perhaps significantly.

“My view is that it will be near 8 or 8.5 percent by the end of next year,” said Nigel Gault, chief domestic economist at Global Insight, offering a forecast others share. That would be the highest unemployment rate since the deep recession of the early 1980s.

My target for 2009 is 8% but I can easily be optimistic. I gave that forecast in Jobs Losses Mount As Recession Deepens.

Of course there is the reported headline number (6.1%) and what unemployment really is. If you add up the total unemployed, marginally attached workers, and those working part time for economic reasons, the number is already 11%.

Table A-12

Table A-12 is where one can find a better approximation of what the unemployment rate really is. For a discussion of Table A-12, please see Jobs Contract 9th Consecutive Month.

Let’s take a look

click on chart for sharper image

The headline unemployment is in the first circle. A better estimate as to how it really feels to the guy on the street is in the last line.

Unemployed And Happy

Let’s compare a picture from the New York Times article above with an image from the great depression.

Rochelle and Dwight Stokes of Phenix City, Ala., have both lost their jobs recently.

They seem happy about it.

Now let’s take a look at a classic depression era image.

That’s what a depression would feel like.

I have seen that haunting image many times. Thanks to “Giles” for reminding me about it.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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