"Structural Unemployment" means that the workers we have don't have the right training or are living in the wrong towns. Many experts are pushing the idea that our current recession is a structural one. But none of the data supports that view. What *does* support that view is if you know it's a lack-of-demand recession but you don't want to embrace the kind of solutions that would call for. You look at the solutions and decide to claim reality is different than it is.
We have a lack of demand. We need an embarrassingly large stimulus.
Op-Ed Columnist - Structure of Excuses - NYTimes.com
What can be done about mass unemployment? All the wise heads agree: there are no quick or easy answers. There is work to be done, but workers aren’t ready to do it — they’re in the wrong places, or they have the wrong skills. Our problems are “structural,” and will take many years to solve.
But don’t bother asking for evidence that justifies this bleak view. There isn’t any. On the contrary, all the facts suggest that high unemployment in America is the result of inadequate demand — full stop. Saying that there are no easy answers sounds wise, but it’s actually foolish: our unemployment crisis could be cured very quickly if we had the intellectual clarity and political will to act.
In other words, structural unemployment is a fake problem, which mainly serves as an excuse for not pursuing real solutions.
Who are these wise heads I’m talking about? The most widely quoted figure is Narayana Kocherlakota, the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, who has attracted a lot of attention by insisting that dealing with high unemployment isn’t a Fed responsibility: “Firms have jobs, but can’t find appropriate workers. The workers want to work, but can’t find appropriate jobs,” he asserts, concluding that “It is hard to see how the Fed can do much to cure this problem.”
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