Tom Keene's Econo Chat

What's happened in the last 30 days in the economy?
Actually, an awful lot of positive things are starting to happen. Yet the latest employment report on Oct. 8 [which showed more jobs lost than expected] is a reminder how deep a hole we fell in.

Jobs are a lot worse.
Absolutely. We're getting GDP up by pushing people harder and working longer hours, improving productivity. That helps profits, but it's not so brilliant for jobs.

And Alan Greenspan has pointed out that people who have been out of work six months or more are not going to have the skills to come back into the workforce.
Well, yes, that's what happens. But you know what? There are a lot of jobs that don't take tremendous skills. Just give us work, and we can figure it out, I think, for a lot of people. I think the real disaster of downturns is the lost opportunity, the income and wealth we're not creating.

What could help companies feel more confident about hiring?
For the business community, from my point of view, conditions are spectacular. I don't understand these surveys that say businesspeople are depressed, because profit margins are at record levels. It's the workers who really lost out, and they just have to see that we have to wait, because it takes time to get an economy moving fast enough to generate jobs.

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