Our Sputtering Economy: By The Numbers

With increasing signs that the economy is laboring, most economists agree that a short-term infusion of spending, or an extension of this year’s temporary cut in Social Security taxes, could help fend off a new downturn.

But whatever one thinks of the debt deal — and most of its billions in cuts won’t come for a few years — there’s a near-consensus in Washington against spending increases.

Here’s a brief overview of some key stats on where the economy stands.

  • Annual rate at which the GDP grew this year: 1.3 per cent between April and June, 0.4 per cent between January and March
  • Average annual GDP growth from 1998-2007: 3.02 per cent
  • Total jobs lost since January 2008: 8.7 million
  • Total jobs recovered since January 2008: 1.8 million
  • Recession technically ended: over 2 years ago, in June 2009
  • Current unemployment rate: 9.2 per cent
  • The “natural unemployment rate:” 5 per cent
  • Months that the unemployment rate has been around 9 per cent or more: 28
  • Number of unemployed people in June 2011: 14.1 million
  • Growth in number of unemployed people since March 2011: 545,000
  • Number of long-term unemployed people in June 2011: 6.3 million, or 44.4 per cent of the unemployed
  • Pace at which jobs were added throughout the late 1990s: 350,00 per month
  • Jobs that were added in June: 18,000
  • Jobs the U.S. needs to create to 5 per cent unemployment rate: 6.8 million, as of January 2011
  • Years it will take to get back to an unemployment rate of 5 per cent: 4 years if we’re adding jobs at 350,000 per month; 11 years if we’re adding jobs at the 2005 rate of 210,000 per month
  • Unemployed workers per job opening: 4.98
  • Number of people who weren’t in the labour force, but wanted work, as of June 2011: 2.7 million
  • The last time that the labour force participation rate was lower than it is now: 1984
  • The amount of state budget spending that comes from the federal government: about 1/3, or $478 billion in 2010
  • Increase in before-tax corporate profits in the first quarter of 2011: $140.3 billion
  • Percentage of Americans’ total personal income that comes from federal funds: almost 20 per cent
  • Spending cuts in the proposed budget: at least $2.3 trillion over a decade from 2012-2021
  • How long you can currently receive unemployment benefits: up to 99 weeks
  • The number of those weeks funded to some extent by federal aid: up to 73
  • People currently relying on federal unemployment benefits: 3.8 million
  • How long you’ll be able to receive unemployment benefits if you lose your job after July 1, 2011: 20 to 26 weeks, depending on your state
  • Recovery-funded jobs reported by recipients, according to recovery.gov: 550,621
  • Amount of stimulus money left to be spent: $122.8 billion of the original $787 billion

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