Unemployment Isn't the Fault of the Workforce

Government simply lacks the will to stimulate demand
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2010 2:00 PM CDT
People apply for work at an employment center, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2010, in San Jose, Calif.   (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

(Newser) – Don't blame America's workers for the country's persistent unemployment. Some, like Bill Clinton and Narayana Kocherlakota have suggested that American workers simply lack the skills employers need. But that's nonsense, argues Paul Krugman in the New York Times. If that were true, there should be employers struggling to fill jobs.

But "job openings have plunged in every major sector, and unemployment has surged in every major occupational category," Krugman notes, while a key survey of employers shows satisfaction with labor quality at an all-time high. Not only are the structural unemployment claims factually unsubstantiated, they are old: Krugman finds similar claims from the Great Depression. "But now, as then, powerful forces are ideologically opposed to the whole idea of government action on a sufficient scale to jump-start the economy."

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