Here is an interesting read about how many of the unemployed, especially those who have exhausted their unemployment compensation, are finding work in the informal economy.
"Where Are the Missing 5 Million Workers? In the Underground Economy" by Laura Flanders
"In the past two years, the number of people in the U.S. who are older than 16 (and not in the military or prison) has grown by 5.4 million. The number of people working or looking for work hasn’t grown at all.
So, where have all the workers gone? Have they retired, suspended their labors temporarily or are they languishing on public assistance? asks Wessel.
There are some other possibilities. Since the crash of 2008, there’s no question that millions of Americans have indeed stopped looking for a job. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not working. Look around, it’s much more likely that the officially “unemployed” are busy, doing their best to make ends meet in whatever ways they can. Sex work, drugs and crime spring to mind, but the underground or “shadow” economy includes all sorts of off-the-books toil. From baby-sitting, bartering, mending, kitchen-garden farming and selling goods in a yard sale, all sorts of people—from the tamale seller on your corner, to the dancer who teachers yoga—are all contributing to the underground economy along with the “employed” who pay them for their wares."
Very nice article.
Also check out Sharon Astyk's comments about this article.
Considering that JMG recommends that a family get at least one member out of the "formal" economy now, so as to learn the skills needed in the Long Descent, its a good introduction for those who have never done a bit of bartering or under the table work.
Slightly off topic but in the first article there is mention of the "Democracy Collaborative". A quick web search finds their website, which is due to open formally in the Fall, and from there to one of the Democracy Collaborative's co-founders, Gar Alperovitz's blog. He has a illuminating post on just how Banks and the Fed do their dance of creating money out of thin air, and then lending it at a handsome profit.