Remember, this sort of collapse is self reinforcing. The more people who lose jobs, the less money gets spent, which means more businesses have to let people go, which means even less money being spent, which means… well, I assume you get the picture.
This is about as simple an explanation of the situation concerning the Big 2.5 as you’re apt to read if you don’t understand why it is a critical situation in respect to employment.
What’s far more useful is the employment ratio – how much of the population has jobs? If that number is declining, odds are it’s getting harder to find, or keep a job. As you can see from the chart at the left, the peak of the last expansion, jobwise, was actually around November 2006.