Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Miller looks at unemployment in “Dollars & Sense”

As millions of Americans continue to search for jobs, Professor of Economics John Miller continues to analyze the challenge. In an article he co-authored in Dollars & Sense, he points out that the nearly 10 percent national unemployment rate is not due to a lack of skills by job seekers, as recently indicated by some politicians and media outlets.

Miller wrote: “The reality of the situation—the widespread job losses and the long, fruitless job searches of experienced workers—makes it clear that today’s employment problem is a jobs deficit across the economy, not a skills deficit among those looking for work.

“While it’s true that any given month ends with some number of unfilled job openings, the total number of jobs added to the economy during this recovery has simply been inadequate to put the unemployed back to work. In fact, if every job that stood open at the end of September 2010 had been filled, 11.7 million officially unemployed workers would still have been jobless.”

The simple reality of the current recession is that people have less money to spend, so demand has plummeted and therefore fewer businesses are willing to invest in creating jobs or hiring, he noted. Focusing on that, rather than blaming the unemployed, is the way to begin to remedy the situation, according to Miller.