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Is High, Single-Digit Unemployment the ‘New Normal?’

Wall Street Journal Online (01/27/12) Neal Lipschutz

ManpowerGroup chairman and chief executive Jeff Joerres agrees with the proposition that there is a “new normal” of higher-than-desired unemployment in the U.S. “There’s no reason to suspect any time in the next three years we will find ourselves under 7% unemployment,” says Joerres, noting that would mean “almost eight years of high, single-digit” unemployment. Joerres predicts that demand will remain the bottom line for hiring and will trump all the structural issues afflicting the ability of so many people to find and keep jobs.

Joerres says those now out of work for a long time are actually worse off than during the Great Depression because now a long-term unemployed worker finds a job market and skill demands that essentially are in constant flux. Some of these trends play well to the fortunes of ManpowerGroup, especially the increasing numbers of companies looking for more “flexible” work forces, Joerres notes.