Jobs Boost Helps, But Millions Still Unemployed, At Risk

LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — The economy may have added 151,000 jobs last month, but still only about half what it would take to put a noticeable dent in unemployment. And with many Californians approaching the 99-week limit for unemployment benefits, many are asking when business will begin hiring vigorously again.

Some economists say it will be at least a year before companies gain enough confidence to hit the sweet spot of 300,000 new jobs a month, which may continue to cut into consumer spending levels in order to revive the flagging economy.

If the new Republican majority in the House gets its way, emergency unemployment benefits will be slashed $5 billion-to-$6 billion a month as a condition of passage. The benefits will start expiring Dec. 1 for millions who’ve been without jobs for a half year or longer, meaning up to 2 million people could lose the benefits during the holiday season.

Some months in recent years saw particularly explosive job growth: in September 1983, the economy created 1.1 million jobs, while in September 1997, 508,000 were generated. But advances in automation and the development of a mainly service economy mean employers are slower to recall laid-off workers or hire new ones.

So what do the latest jobs numbers mean for the average unemployed worker? KNX 1070’s Jon Baird looks at the public’s reaction to the latest data.

Heidi Shierholz, economist at the liberal Employment Policy Institute, argues that the economy will continue to sputter unless the government steps in with more spending.

“Those just elected to Congress had better start coming up with solutions,” says Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial, “or risk the same fate of this year’s incumbents when they run for re-election in 2012.”

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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