2Center or American Progress | Economic Snapshot or January 2012
Average weeks of unemploymentBusiness cycle start
Dec-48 Aug-53 Sep-57 May-60 Jan-70 Dec-73 Feb-80 Aug-90 Mar-01 Dec-07
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Current PopulationSurvey (Department of Labor, 2011).
Share of long-term unemployment, business cycle averages
The trade deficit stays high.
Te U.S. rade deci sood a 3.8 percen o GDPin he ourh quarer o 2011, slighly above he 3.7 percen recorded in hehird quarer o 2011, and sill subsanially up rom is las rough o 2.4 perceno GDP in he second quarer o 2009.
U.S. expor growh, even when i wassrong in recen years, has no been enough o overcome even larger imporincreases, ollowing in par higher oil prices and hus larger oil impors. Tecrisis in Europe could slow U.S. expor growh, while urmoil in he Middle Eashas kep oil prices high—wo rends ha could resul in expanding U.S. radedecis in he near uure.3.
The labor market recovery is slow.
Te economy has added jobs coninuously since Ocober 2010. Tere were more han 100,000 jobs each monh or six monhs in a row, rom July o December 2011, marking he rs such six-monhperiod since lae 2005 o early 2006. And he privae secor coninuously added jobs rom March 2010 o December 2011 or a oal o 3.2 million jobs.
Bu saeand local governmens are cuting jobs or eachers, bus drivers, reghers, andpolice ocers, among ohers, reecing governmens’ budge roubles. A oalo 447,000 sae and local governmen jobs were los beween March 2010 andDecember 2011.
Te botom line is ha job creaion is a op policy prioriy sinceprivae-secor job growh is sill oo weak o overcome oher job losses and oimprove he economic orunes o America’s middle class.4.
Unemployment stays high amid weak jobgrowth.
Te unemploymen rae sood a 8.5percen in December 2011. And long-ermunemploymen has ballooned in recen yearsas he unemploymen rae sayed high. InDecember 2011, 42.7 percen o he unem-ployed have been ou o and looking or a jobor more han six monhs. Te average lengho unemploymen sayed near new recordhighs wih 40.8 weeks in December 2011.
Te long-erm unemployed are srugglingdue o a weak economy, making exendedunemploymen benes necessary unil heeconomy and he labor marke subsanially improve. (see Figure 1)5.
Labor market pressures fall especially oncommunities of color, young workers, and those with less education.
Te Arican American unemploymen rae in December 2011 sayed well above average wiha high 15.8 percen, and he Hispanic unemploymen rae sayed high wih 11percen, while he whie unemploymen rae was 7.5 percen. Youh unemploy-