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Is job market losing steam?

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POSTED: July 20, 2010 1:22 p.m.
Just when you might have thought things were getting better, state Labor Commissioner Michael Thurmond goes and rains on the parade.
“Georgia’s job market is showing signs of renewed deterioration,” Thurmond said in a statement released earlier this week. “A sharp increase in the number of discouraged workers, rising long-term unemployment, increased new layoffs, and anemic job growth suggests that the fledgling economic recovery may be losing steam.”
Ironically, unemployment in Georgia was slightly lower in June than May, when it was 10.1 percent.
But the 10 percent jobless rate posted in June isn’t lower because there are more jobs, the state Labor Department says. Instead, it’s because more people are giving up looking for them.
There were 230,000 Georgians who fit the category of long-term unemployed, meaning they’ve been out of work for 27 weeks or longer. That’s an increase of 117 percent from the previous year, according to the Department of Labor, which reported Wednesday that 49 percent of the 469,022 Georgians out of work are long-term unemployed.
And given that many economists project the real unemployment rate to be double the reported rate means that two of every 10 Americans is without a job.
Not surprisingly, there are those who blame President Barack Obama and his economic policies for the mess – apparently forgetting that the recession began under a Republican administration, thanks largely to greed and lax regulation in the financial sector.
But Democrats who cry foul at Republican finger-pointing now should remember that they did the same when President George W. Bush was in office. To date that approach, one rife with partisan politics and blaming someone else, has solved nothing. Why continue down the same path?
A combined effort between both major parties and independent groups to find common ground and a solution is vital and may be the only path left to us. Otherwise, expect more black clouds from the Department of Labor.
 

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