In reel life, there is a line from one of the scariest movies; The Sixth Sense, where the young actor Haley Joel Osment played Coal Sear said, “I see dead people”. In real life, there is an even scarier scene – “I see unemployed people.”
The New York Times reported today that “Jobs Report Is Strongest Since the Start of the Recession”. The unemployment rate in the States is ‘rosy’ at 10 percent, from 10.2 percent the month before. Well, yet another report on unemployment, but it does say A LOT on our current state of affairs when a 10 percent unemployment rate is termed ‘strong’ and maybe even a time to pop the champagne.
Despite the ‘good news’ in US, this state of unemployment is probably unimaginable for many Singaporeans at home.
I remembered vividly reading ‘grim’ reports last year in The Straits Times (The national newspaper in Singapore) when the unemployment rate in the country was ‘out of hand’ and the country ‘bracing for the gloom’. I was concern, only to realize that the unemployment rate at that time was 3.3 percent. I just checked back on Singapore Statistics website, the unemployment rate was 3.4 percent in September 2009.
USA versus Singapore
- 10.0 percent unemployment rate versus 3.4 percent
- 15,400,000 people out of work versus 84,000
- 300 million population versus 4.8 million
Some people may say, US is so much bigger than Singapore, why even bother comparing the absolute number of unemployed people. Yes, that’s true, it probably does not make sense if both economies are doing well, as a big economy can churn out more jobs than a much smaller one.
However, when no one is hiring and there are no jobs around, it matters little that the country is big. Bumping onto 15.4 million unemployed people in the coffee shop is a huge difference from seeing 84,000 people in the kopitiam (Singapore’s version of coffee shop)!
I live in New York City where the unemployment rate is 10.3 percent in Oct 09. There was a point last year that probably half of my friends, who were mainly finance professionals, were unemployed. And sad to say, many of them are still unemployed now, more than one year later.
According to the report, 38.3 percent of those unemployed have been unemployed for more than a year, reflecting what I observed.
That’s scary news! More than 1 out of 3 job seekers in the States have been looking for work for more than a year!
Well, some of my Singaporean friends might judge that, “If you are out of work for more than a year, you are either lazy or stupid.” Well, all I can say is that, I hope that Singapore will never see the days of 10 percent unemployment.
Sharing with you one eerie statement from the article, “Many companies have reached the point that they can’t extract more work from their existing employees,” Ouch, I could almost visualize myself like an olive, being squeeze between two pliers, for the extraction of ‘olive oil’, aka ‘more work’.
To pile on the gloom, if you quote the broader measure of unemployment, the one that includes those who are forced to work only part time and those who have given up looking for work, the ‘real’ unemployment rate fell from 17.5 percent to 17.2 percent, according to the article.
Oh, don’t even try to get me going comparing 17.2 percent to 3.4 percent. I’m not in the mood.
17.2 percent? You are talking about over 26 million people wanting full time job in the States! It’s no wonder ‘I see dead…opps, I mean unemployed people’…
Take a break and have a good weekend.
Copyright 2009 by Farting Camel