Holiday jobs highlight underemployment crisis


First the good news: According to the U.S. Department of Labor Statistics, the November jobless rate fell to 10%, a 0.2% improvement over October, when unemployment hit its highest level since 1983. Better yet, according to the Kronos Retail Labor Index, 3.87% percent of job applications currently lead to a hiring. This is the highest percentage in over a year.

The trouble is, those numbers translate into an economy in which 1 in 10 people is still out of work and 96.13% of job applications end up in the trash. What's more, even the healthy economic bounce that Kronos is reporting is likely the result of the roughly 600,000 seasonal jobs that The Wall Street Journal has predicted for this year. The retail sector has shed 850,000 jobs since 2007, which means that this temporary jump still represents a net loss of a quarter million paychecks.