As I've been known to do, today I was scanning the barrage of information that comes out of The Motley Fool on a daily basis, and I came across an article that nicely articulates my view of the ongoing and rampant concern about unemployment. I encourage you to read the article, but I'll summarize and share a few thoughts.
First, I want to point out that I'm as concerned about unemployment as much as the next person. It's bad by any definition. Furthermore, for most members of the unemployed right now, whether or not a job exists in the private or public sector is probably not hugely critical. Nonetheless, I think it makes sense to look for silver linings at this point. Our economic reality is largely a matter of confidence, or lack thereof.
The article points out that there is an important employment trend that tends to be ignored by the media. So far this year, the private sector has added 650,000 jobs. Not great, given where we started, but it's meaningful growth. During that time, the government (local, state, federal) has eliminated 224,000 jobs. It is commonly held that our last recession ended in October of 2001. The recovery that ensued saw a decrease of 884,000 private-sector jobs in the subsequent two years, per the article. During the same period, the government sector added 174,000 jobs. Times have changed.
Certainly, the recession that ended in 2009 was longer than any since WWII, and the aftermath continues to be painful for a lot of people. At all levels, governments in the US are struggling. However, in many ways corporations are stronger than ever. They'll hire again. Many have already started.