Tonight, President Barack Obama will take the podium to deliver his State of the Union address. In his preview of the speech, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that Obama hopes to use his message to “outline a hopeful track for our future.”
He also said, “The president is going to explain why he thinks the American people are angry and frustrated.”According to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released Tuesday, Obama will be speaking to an American public that’s fed up with Congress, the country's two main political parties, and the federal government. Fifty-eight percent of Americans — the highest level of Obama’s presidency — reportedly believe the country is headed in the wrong direction.
Speaking on the Today show about the address, Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, a member of the House Republican leadership said, "The American people want to hear that the president has listened and that the president has learned about what has gone on here," he said. "As we know, way too many American families are still out of work."
Yes, they are. And many continue to lose their jobs. Today, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics released its layoff numbers for December 2009 and the annual totals.
Employers took 1,726 mass layoff actions in December that resulted in the “separation” of 153,127 workers. Each action involved at least 50 persons from a single employer.
Mass layoff events decreased by 87 in December from the previous month and the number of associated initial unemployment claims decreased by 10,696 — the lowest levels since July 2008.
Manufacturing events and initial claims both decreased in December to 433 and 44,072, respectively.
Annual totals for 2009 mass layoff events, at 28,423, and initial claims, at 2,847,065, both were at program highs.
Is there an end in sight to the hemorrhaging of jobs? Dr. Chris Kuehl, economic analyst for the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International (FMA) addressed the job situation in the latest issue of Fabrinomics.
According to Kuehl, job losses peaked in the early part of 2009 and the rate of unemployment shrank a bit in the latter part of the year falling from 10.2 percent to 10 percent. “Layoffs have declined and within a couple of months there should be enough new hires to offset any new layoffs,” he says.
For many Americans, the recession will be over when they can find jobs with sufficient income to pay their bills. Some, such as those profiled in a recent AARP Bulletin, are looking for other signs, from simple to serious.
Highlighting the AARP article, the January “Stamping News Brief” e-newsletter asked its subscribers to fill in the rest of the sentence: I’ll know the recession has ended when …
Here are some responses:
“… all our laid-off employees are back to work and the salaried people get their 10 percent pay cut back.” –Tooling engineer, Minneapolis
“ … our company reinstates the ‘finder's fee’ bonus that they gave to employees a few years ago. This was paid to an employee when they recommended a new employee, who was hired in a tight labor market.” –Design engineer, Ohio
“ … employers are not afraid to spend money for help in their businesses.” –Business consultant, Indiana
“ … Ben Bernanke says we are headed into a recession.” – Steel grating manufacturer, Pennsylvania
“ … the idiots who tell us it has ended, but this time we have recovery without employment (or whatever euphemisms they use), put on their ‘global’ glasses and realize that the ‘recovery’ shown by the indicators is accompanied by employment where the stuff is manufactured — India, China, Korea, you name it.
“Let some real expert get out of the box and redefine recovery in the U.S. so they know how to get there; the fabricators and manufacturers know it very well.” —Industrial engineer, Pennsylvania
“ … my brother-in-law can quit his bouncer job at a local strip club and can be a welder again.” —Manufacturer of drive-train components, Ohio
When will you know the recession has ended? Chances are it won’t be when an economist or the administration tells you it has. The recession affects each of us on a very personal level. Your own indicators will tell you when it’s over.
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