U.S. Lags Behind Other Major Economies in Restoring Jobs

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In the arena of job growth, the U.S. is lagging well behind 11 other major economies a year into the global recovery, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal. The report says the research "suggests that manageable [consumer] debt burdens and healthy banking systems -- areas in which the U.S. doesn't excel -- are proving to be crucial factors in creating jobs."

Among the 11 economies in the study, Brazil and Chile lead in job growth -- up 4.5% and 6.8% from December 2007, respectively, according to data from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the International Labor Organization. The two Latin American economies did not suffer from banking crises.

China's strong economy helped buoy countries like Australia, which raised total employment by 3.7% through May, thanks partly to robust commodity exports. Korea and Taiwan, whose banks survived the financial crisis well, bounced back quickly from the sharp drop in global trade and have managed to drive total employment above pre-recession levels.

In contrast, U.S. total employment in June was down 4.8% from December, 2007. The report says: "Businesses have been reluctant to hire amid difficulties getting loans from financially wounded banks and uncertainty about how long it will take consumers -- a key driver of the U.S. economy -- to pare down their large debt loads."

Furthermore, the Journal notes that "the 11 countries in the analysis were chosen because they report jobs data in a relatively timely manner. As a result, many developing countries such as China and India, which report infrequently and with a large lag, were excluded."