Press Releases | Jobs and Unemployment

News from EPI Bill Clinton wrong on structural unemployment

For Immediate Release: Monday, September 27, 2010
Contact: Phoebe Silag or Karen Conner, 202-775-8810

In today’s New York Times, columnist and Nobel economist Paul Krugman calls structural unemployment “a fake problem, which mainly serves as an excuse for not pursuing real solutions.”  He went on to chastise former President Bill Clinton for his remarks during a televised interview, where he said, “We are coming out of a recession but job openings are going up twice as fast as new hires….People don’t have the job skills for the jobs that are open.”

The data, however, tell a different story: that hiring has actually outpaced job openings. Today’s Snapshot shows that there have been roughly 53 million people hired into the private sector in the 14 months starting in June 2009, the official beginning of the recovery, but only 32.7 million job openings over the same period.

A more detailed explanation of why the current unemployment crisis is not a structural problem, see our recent paper, Reasons for Skepticism about Structural Unemployment.

See related work on Wages Incomes and Wealth