The latest employment figures are dismal to say the least. The nation's economy added the fewest jobs in eight months, and the unemployment rate has gone up to 9.1 percent. Only 54,000 jobs were created in the month of May by private employers.
It gets worse: according to a MarketWatch report, Half of Last Month's New Jobs Came from a Single Employer—McDonald's. The fast-food chain held a special hiring day on April 19, at which more than a million people across the nation submitted job applications. On a related front, at least one economist thinks that a much higher unemployment rate is the new normal:
Yahoo Finance, May 26, 2001 Even as the economy recovers, the days of 5% unemployment may be gone for good. A chorus of economists and labor market observers say that the â€?naturalâ€? or â€?structuralâ€? rate of unemployment has shifted up, meaning that Americans looking for work should get used to having a harder time finding it. The unemployment rate is currently 9% and could take until 2016 to reach the natural rate. The so-called natural unemployment rate is somewhere around 7%, according to Mark Vitner, a senior economist at Wells Fargo. Other economists peg the natural unemployment rate somewhere between 5.5% and 7%. They said the figure will be held higher by a skills mismatch in the labor market that has been growing since the 1970s, the recent extension of unemployment benefits and the 2009 minimum wage increase.
The Los Angeles Times noted today, "Employers in May added just 54,000 to their payrolls, less than half of whatâ€™s needed just to keep pace with the expanding working-age population." The increasing number of workers does not come only from American young people reaching adulthood; Washington continues to admit 1.5 million legal immigrant workers annually. In addition, the lack of comprehensive workplace enforcement has allowed millions of illegal alien workers to unlawfully occupy American jobs. A 2008 Pew Hispanic report put the number at eight million, and estimated in 2010 that it hadn't changed much. During times of economic boom, business demanded more foreign workers, and Congress complied with generous numbers of employment visas. But now that the problem is too many workers, Washington is silent about the obvious solution: stop importing foreign workers until American employment has reached a normal level â€” and not the egregious â€?new normal.â€? At the current level of job creation, the correct number of immigrant workers is ZERO.