Why Is the U.S. Job Picture Worse Than Other Countries?

Where the banks sneezed the hardest, the labor force got the sickest:

Brazil and Chile, neither of which suffered banking crises, have seen the strongest job growth since the beginning of the recession, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Labor Organization. In April, total employment in the two Latin American countries was up 4.5% and 6.8% from December 2007, respectively.

Proximity to the booming economies of Asia has helped job creation in some cases. Australia has managed to boost total employment by 3.7% through May, thanks in part to trade in commodities such as iron ore with Asian countries that never went into recession.

Australia's banks also emerged from the financial crisis largely unscathed.

This is one factor, but it can't explain everything. One reason banks aren't lending is that businesses aren't looking for loans. And one reason businesses aren't looking for loans is that the American consumer hasn't recovered from the cold.As of March, U.S. household debt averaged 122% of disposable income, down from a peak of 131% in 2008. More deleveraging will have to take place before strong and sustainable demand encourages businesses to invest in payrolls.