Two years after end of Great Recession, how are we doing?
The Great Recession officially ended in June 2009. That's apparent on Wall Street, less so on Main Street. But the economic recovery is gradually being felt in places like Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
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This is not to say that everything in Poughkeepsie is coming up roses. At the Take 5 Deli, an employee says the eatery has gone from five workers to three. "Business is off about 50 percent," she says.Skip to next paragraph
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But new jobs are being created in retail, the medical field, professional services, and tourism, says Mr. Long. As a result, the unemployment rate in the metro area has fallen to 7.7 percent.
Poughkeepsie is even benefiting from a national trend – an uptick in exports. Dorsey Metrology International, which produces precision measuring equipment, is working on projects in Turkey and Malaysia. "We are out of space and are looking to add space and people," says Ted Luty Jr., the president.
Although Poughkeepsie is showing some hopeful signs, many Americans overall feel that the economy is still struggling – mainly because of the slow recovery in employment. After shedding 8.5 million jobs, the economy has created only 1.7 million new jobs since.
The past three months have seen some improvement. Some 244,000 new jobs were created in April, the Labor Department reported, and that followed job gains of 221,000 in March and 235,000 in February.
Yet the number of Americans who have been out of work for six months or longer remains high – officially about 5.8 million in April, only a slight improvement from a year ago.
A major roadblock for those looking for work: Corporate America adopted the mantra "do more with less." Managers have pushed employees to produce goods more efficiently or just work a little longer.
Nonfarm productivity increased by 3.7 percent in 2009 and rose again by 3.9 percent in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
At the same time, the number of mass layoffs (involving at least 50 workers) has been shrinking. In March, businesses implemented 1,286 mass layoffs involving 118,523 workers, reports the Bureau of Labor Statistics. This was the lowest level since the fall of 2007.
"My sense is that people who have a job feel it's probably safe," Mr. Challenger says.
People who have been looking for work for some time say they are seeing some hiring. Take Jenny Hong, whom the Monitor profiled in a story last year. In 2008, she and her husband, Dave, moved from Michigan to Columbia, S.C., in search of work.
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