The Jobs Picture Is Much Worse Than They're Telling You

The Wall Street Journal's personal finance writer Brett Arends counts 10 reasons to be nervous about the third and fourth quarters. These two are key:

People still owe way too much money. Households, corporations, states, local governments and, of course, Uncle Sam. It's the debt, stupid. According to the Federal Reserve, total U.S. debt--even excluding the financial sector--is basically twice what it was 10 years ago: $35 trillion compared to $18 trillion. Households have barely made a dent in their debt burden; it's fallen a mere 3% from last year's all-time peak, leaving it twice the level of a decade ago.

The jobs picture is much worse than they're telling you. Forget the "official" unemployment rate of 9.5%. Alternative measures? Try this: Just 61% of the adult population, age 20 or over, has any kind of job right now. That's the lowest since the early 1980s--when many women stayed at home through choice, driving the numbers down. Among men today, it's 66.9%. Back in the '50s, incidentally, that figure was around 85%, though allowances should be made for the higher number of elderly people alive today. And many of those still working right now can only find part-time work, so just 59% of men age 20 or over currently have a full-time job. This is bullish?

Read the full story at WSJ.