The Labor Department's Weekly Jobless Claims show that new job loss is tapering off…that's what I'll report for my radio brief later today. Still, while the employment trend is improving, it's worth noting that a slew of jobs have vanished and will not return any time soon.
It's depressing, but understandable. Businesses are gun shy about adding to current staffing levels until a true recovery takes hold. From what I can tell by talking to many small-mid sized owners and managers, the trauma of the past 18 months has taken a real toll. Instead of hiring, they are squeezing existing workers — that's why productivity is soaring and temporary hiring is down.
If employers are still anxious, then it's not surprising that the unemployed are "shaken and traumatized". Just as I was pondering the emotional condition of the US worker, I saw that Time Magazine's cover story says it pretty clearly, at least for the time being: we are living in "Unemployment Nation".