The New Normal: No Jobs?

Is it just me or is the phrase “new normal” becoming one of the buzz words of choice for policy wonks, politicians and corporate suits? Gee. What happened to paradigm shift?

And I don’t know why “new normal” irritates me so much. I mean it doesn’t rank up there with the possibility that Bristol Palin could advance to the semi-finals on Dancing With the Stars. Oops.

Anyway, “new normal” does bother me. And I’m not even sure what it means. Those who use it probably don’t either. I digress.

So I guess I should end this post now with the other phrase that really irritates me these days. It’s how many are ending e-mail messages when they send you some information that needs a decision or  action, but they don’t want to be the one to make the decision or swing into action. So they end the e-mail with a curt:


Ugh, sorry big guy, but up to a few minutes ago I wasn’t thinking about you or your message at all. Thanks for sharing. Sigh.

Oh well. Here’s what got me thinking about all this.

Prez O had a sit down on CBS’s “60 Minutes” Sunday and he talked about the economy and jobs. Here’s from a WaPo article by Lori Montgomery:

Without additional government action to spur hiring, President Obama said Sunday that he fears the U.S. economy could enter a “new normal” in which corporate profits are high but the number of new jobs is too low to reduce the nation’s 9.6 percent unemployment rate to pre-recession levels.

A “new normal” where unemployment will hover around 10 percent? Here’s from the blog post, “Obama Warns of New Normal for Economy“:

President Barack Obama warned in an interview on CBS’s 60 Minutes about the danger of a “new normal” taking hold of the economy – an environment in which businesses become accustomed to fewer employees and the U.S. job market never regains its footing.

Here are his views on this potential phenomenon and other issues, from the interview taped on Thursday:

On unemployment: “What is a danger is that we stay stuck in a new normal where unemployment rates stay high. People who have jobs see their incomes go up. Businesses make big profits, but they’ve learned to do more with less. And so they don’t hire. And, as a consequence, we keep on seeing growth that is just too slow to bring back the eight million jobs that were lost. That is a danger. So, that’s something that I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about.”

And just to add some perspective on these unemployment numbers during what has been a jobless economic recovery, here’s from the NYT:

The jobless rate has not fallen substantially this year, largely because employers have barely added enough workers to absorb the people just entering the labor force. And even if the economy suddenly expands and starts adding 208,000 jobs a month — as it did in its best year this decade — it would still take 12 years to close the gap between the growing number of American workers and the total available jobs, according to the Brookings Institution’s Hamilton Project.

So millions of Americans are looking for work but remain without jobs. And millions others are under-employed or have given up looking for work altogether. If this is the “new normal” then the USA is in deep doo-doo.




4 responses to “The New Normal: No Jobs?

  1. lolol. it seems like about time we had a new buzzword

  2. My thoughts:
    Rob, I agree with you that I highly dislike the phrase ‘new normal.’ (I, too, have absolutely no idea what it means!) I think the unemployment rate will stay high for next 5 years or so (scary thought) – or at least until those of my parents generation begin to retire….yup, I’m talking to you Baby Boomers. Time will tell.

    • Megan,

      Hi. Thanks for the comment. I hope you are doing well. And I agree with you — but I’m not sure how quickly, or even if, the Baby Boomers are going to fade into the sunset and start spending their days looking for the world’s softest yogurt and early-bird food specials. Most saw their retirement savings destroyed during the recession. And many more have lost all or most of the equity in their homes, which for most people was the bulk of their savings. Ugh. Time for my nap. And if you ever figure out what “new normal” means please let me know. I hear it all the time now from the policy wonks Inside the Beltway particularly.

  3. …And the government isn’t exactly making it easy to retire either. Apparently by the time it’s my turn, I may have to wait to legally retire until I’m 68!?! Oi, just makes me want to move to Europe – where you can retire in 40s in Turkey and you riot in London when they raise college tuition to $14K (which is what I happily paid @ Kent).

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