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The Thin Blue Line #BlueLivesMatter

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What Was The Great Depression?

The Great Depression of 1929 was a worldwide economic depression that lasted approximately 10 years. On October 24, 1929, “Black Thursday” when 12.9 million shares of stock were sold in one day, triple the normal amount prices fell 15 - 20%, causing a stock market crash.

Unemployment During The Great Depression

By 1933, the height of the depression, unemployment had risen from 3% to 25% of the nation’s workforce. Wages for those who still had jobs fell 42%. GDP was cut in half, from $103 to $55 billion. This was partly because of deflation, where prices fell 10% per year. By 1933, world trade plummeted 65% as measured in dollars and 25% in total number of units.

The Depression caused many farmers to lose their farms. At the same time, years of erosion and a drought created the “Dust Bowl” in the Midwest, where no crops could grow. Thousands of these farmers and other unemployed workers traveled to California to find work. Many ended up living as homeless “hobos” or in shantytowns called “Hoovervilles”, named after then-President Herbert Hoover.

Unemployment in January 2009

Some 2.6 million Americans lost their jobs in 2008, the worst toll since the end of World War II.  "The job situation is ugly and is going to get uglier," said Richard Yamarone, chief economist with Argus Research in New York.  

"When we look at where companies are, in the conversations they're having, we anticipate continued job losses for at least a couple quarters," said Jeff Joerres, chief executive of Manpower Inc, one of the world's largest staffing and outplacement firms. 

The North American chief of rival Adecco SA said a decline in overtime and total hours worked suggests more job losses ahead, since employers typically cut hours before they eliminate jobs. 

"We have 150,000 clients in the U.S., and I can tell you one company after another is convinced this recession is not going away," Adecco's Tig Gilliam said. He predicts January and February payroll data will show cuts as deep as those seen in the quarter just ended. 

"We're in an accelerating job-loss mode," he said. 

Adecco is the third largest U.S. employer, behind Wal-Mart Stores and the postal service. Overall, U.S. staffing companies employ almost 3 million people a day and hire some 11 million temporary and contract workers a year, according to the American Staffing Association. 

A further negative sign is that professional job categories are losing jobs, said Scot Melland, chief executive of Dice Holdings, which runs specialized job sites focused on areas like finance and technology. 

Meanwhile, worker supply is rising, as more people reenter the work force and those anxious about their jobs start to test the waters. Job applications in the latest quarter were up 20 percent versus a year ago, Dice Holdings said.


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