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As we learn of yet the latest of far too many increases in weekly unemployment claim spikes this morning, Democrats have, for all intents and purposes, been reduced to begging our government's legislative branch for short-term, emergency unemployment benefit extensions and hyping temporary Census Bureau hires.  Politically speaking, this--and "the economy has stabilized." and/or "things-are-getting-worse-more-slowly" meme--is what some are referring to as "successful" economic policy.

Politically speaking, as the NY Times' editors remind us this morning, it is not.

The fact of the matter is virtually every "above-the-line," non-seasonally-adjusted gauge of our nation's employment situation for the month of March is NEGATIVE, except for the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Household Survey. That includes the Gallup Organization's most recent measurements of unemployment and even the Bureau of Labor Statistics' own Establishment Survey unemployment/employment numbers -- the "seasonally adjusted" Household Survey statistics are the ones that are posted front and center for the MSM lemmings, and they drive the publicized U3/U6 seasonally adjusted unemployment indices -- were negative for March 2010; but, you won't see that publicized anywhere that it matters.

Government efforts to jumpstart private sector jobs growth are not succeeding--at least not fast enough to help Democrats in November.

Multiple, highly-respected, left-leaning bloggers on the economy, including Ed Harrison and Mark Thoma, are to a point of frustration with our nation's economic policymakers where they're officially throwing in the proverbial "policymaker's towel"; the rumor mill is running rampant in D.C. with commentary about how the President's top economic advisor has been shown the door; and, much to the chagrin of armchair pundits that talk of unemployment being a lagging indicator of the economy, the fact remains that hiring/employment is considered to be a concurrent or leading economic indicator (depending upon whose assessment you read about this sort of thing) of recovery; and, today, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board told us that hiring sucks and it's undermining our excuse for a recovery.

Today's pathetic initial weekly unemployment claims report just emphasizes the matter...

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims increase 18,000
by CalculatedRisk on 4/08/2010 08:35:00 AM

The DOL reports on weekly unemployment insurance claims:

In the week ending April 3, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 460,000, an increase of 18,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 442,000. The 4-week moving average was 450,250, an increase of 2,250 from the previous week's revised average of 448,000.
The advance number for seasonally adjusted insured unemployment during the week ending March 27 was 4,550,000, a decrease of 131,000 from the preceding week's revised level of 4,681,000. Weekly Unemployment Claims Click on graph for larger image in new window.

This graph shows the 4-week moving average of weekly claims since 1971.

The four-week average of weekly unemployment claims increased this week by 2,250 to 450,250.

The dashed line on the graph is the current 4-week average. The current level of 460,000 (and 4-week average of 450,250) is still high, and suggests continuing weakness in the jobs market. Note: There is no way to compare directly between weekly claims, and net payrolls jobs.

Knowing that the public votes their pocketbook, the bottom line (IMHO) is the Democratic Party has reached a point of no return with regard to the current administration's efforts to overcome GOP legislative branch obstructionism to get significant hiring back online in any sort of timely fashion--at least as it relates to limiting our party's losses in the November midterm elections.

Who ya' gonna' call? Dr. Feelgood? More armchair, wannabee economic pundits accentuating the positive attributes of a half-filled glass with a hole in the bottom of it? (I'll have one of whatever they're drinking, please.) Or...the New York Times?

The editorial page lede from today's NY Times tells us that the President has said that our government may "help to create conditions for renewed hiring," but it can't replace the 8.2 million jobs that have been lost over the past couple of year.

The editors of the grey lady "couldn't agree more..."

Job Creation Basics
New York Times
April 8, 2010

...The question is whether Congress will do what is needed. The job situation is dire. But Republicans have apparently decided that grandstanding about the deficit is more important.

The economy added 162,000 jobs in March, a welcome gain after more than two years of nearly uninterrupted losses. But unemployment remained stuck at 9.7 percent. And without more government support, it is unlikely to fall much anytime soon.

Most of March's job gains were temporary positions with the Census Bureau or in the private sector. The Census Bureau will keep hiring for a while, but the jobs will end by the fall. Private-sector temporary jobs won't become permanent unless employers see steady economic growth, which is far from assured as stimulus spending fades later this year.


As states try to close their deficits with tax increases, consumers cut back on their spending, which harms businesses and hiring. As states cut spending, there is less business for private-sector contractors and more layoffs of government employees. Already in March, state and local governments shed 9,000 jobs.

That is why it is so critical to extend unemployment benefits through the end of the year and get more aid to states. Jobless benefits are the most powerful way to bolster waning demand during times of high unemployment. State aid also flows quickly to contractors, employees and beneficiaries, whose spending then supports jobs.

The Times notes that the administration's being "...right about the policy isn't enough." The President "...needs to get the politics right. Americans are nervous about the deficit, and so far the Republicans are carrying the debate."

In closing, the Times' editors tell us the President needs to "make the case to the public" regarding emergency aid for workers, directly, and for the hard-pressed states, in general. They conclude, "High unemployment is bad news for all Americans."

Five words to live by through the November mid-term elections: WE NEED MORE JOBS, NOW!

Originally posted to on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 07:59 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (26+ / 0-)

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 08:08:24 AM PDT

    •  While I agree with the conclusion (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you have a few facts wrong.  First, the Establishment Survey absolutely includes government jobs.  Go to table B-1 and scroll down until you see the heading "government".  The Establishment Survey is even so kind as to break out each level of government for you.

      Also, I think you have the surveys confused.  The Establishment Survey is the one the MSM gets the job created number from, while the Household Survey is where the MSM gets the unemployment rate from.

      Finally, just as an afterthought, I wanted to make it clear that the BLS DID NOT adjust for weather for either the February or March reports.

      Otherwise, your conclusion is correct.  Jobs need to be the #1 priority.

      •  1 out of 2... thank you... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the correction on the government-related jobs being reflected in the establishment survey will be made...many thanks for pointing out the error...HOWEVER, I didn't conflate the jobs creation stats at all, and was fully aware of the link between establishment survey nos. and the jobs creation nos....and, I'm aware of the Household Survey driving the unemployment indices, too...

        so....that means the Establishment Survey nos. are a bit worse than even I posited...

        Thanks again.

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 09:09:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Funny how that worked. Yay, we gained jobs in (5+ / 0-)

    March!  Obama's plan is working!  Oh wait. There's more to the story?  I wonder how many jobs we created for India?

    "Peace cannot be achieved by force. It can only be achieved by understanding" Albert Einstein

    by BigAlinWashSt on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 08:18:42 AM PDT

    •  debt vs jobs (10+ / 0-)

      It's jobs that are going to affect the election. The Republican concern about debt isn't going to change any votes. Of course, debt does matter, and does need reducing. One way you do this is get people jobs you can tax.

      I'd hope the Democrats would recognize that and also recognize

      1. large corporations pay nothing or less (yes, they still get welfare),
      1. large corporations are shipping our jobs away to this day (yes, they get money to subsidize this),
      1. the military boondoggles are the part of the budget which can be cut back.

      Don't have time to look up the links, but it seems there are literally hundreds of billions every year that are hidden in off-shore accounts by corporations. The hell with that. And hundreds of billions devoted to our literally, non-hyperbolic, lunatic global hegemony strategy.

      PS: btw, isn't it a year now since they started talking about "green shoots"?

      Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

      by Jim P on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 08:26:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exxon paid $0 in U.S. taxes in 2009. n/t (5+ / 0-)

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 08:56:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  OT: as this diary scrolls off (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Noor B, bobswern

          bobswern, fyi for future ponderings...

          New instruments for Hollywood box offices,


          Study says most corporations pay no U.S. income taxes

          The Government Accountability Office said 72 percent of all foreign corporations and about 57 percent of U.S. companies doing business in the United States paid no federal income taxes for at least one year between 1998 and 2005.

          More than half of foreign companies and about 42 percent of U.S. companies paid no U.S. income taxes for two or more years in that period, the report said.

          During that time corporate sales in the United States totaled $2.5 trillion, according to Democratic Sens. Carl Levin of Michigan and Byron Dorgan of North Dakota, who requested the GAO study.

          Until we break the corporate virtual monopoly on what we hear and see, we keep losing, don't matter what we do.

          by Jim P on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 12:55:54 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  The graph of the four week average of (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hawkjt, papicek, greengemini, Wolf10, hmiller

    new claims is actually rather hopeful. It suggests we are coming out of this faster than some think. I know the unemployment numbers won't budge for some time because more discouraged workers will start looking again, but the new claims number is hopeful.

    I agree with you main premise about November but it is not just numbers that dictate that. Attitudes are just as important, and those are influenced to some extent by media coverage. I think it's too early to put on the sack cloth. We'll know much more in August.

  •  Well, what excuses will we get this week (7+ / 0-)

    about how this is indicative of a big recovery?

    Where are the happy talkers to tell me "Don't worry; be happy!" because things are looking up again?

    Until we get a SOUND industrial policy that actually plans jobs and doesn't wait around for some pie-in-the-sky ideas from "entrepreneurs" who will create jobs if we just throw enough money at them, we are going to continue to fail.

    What do people think we are going to do for a living?

    What are our children supposed to train for?

    How in the hell is this country supposed to limp along with service industry workers supporting the executive class?

    So, come on, all you positive-growth cheerleaders! Tell me WHERE the jobs are. Tell me WHAT the jobs are. Tell me WHEN I can apply and get hired.

    You can't.

    Because nobody is creating any jobs, and hardly anyone is hiring.

    We are so screwed it isn't even funny.

    We need a direct-hire government jobs program and we need it now. I don't want to hear about how government jobs only shuffle money between taxes and federal salaries. If that's what we have to do, that's what we have to do. Otherwise, shut up and create some jobs, and stop telling us what the government CAN'T do. Because the old ways you have been relying on just aren't working.

    What part of that don't you understand?

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 08:26:42 AM PDT

    •  It's looking up where I'm at. (0+ / 0-)

      Four out of my five friends who were on unemployment have gotten jobs in the last 6 months. After a long string of layoffs, furloughs, and a salary freeze, my company is now re-hiring, giving raises, and promotions. It's certainly anecdotal and unfortunately it doesn't help you in the short term, but the economy is picking up here on the ground in San Francisco.

      Perhaps reading this diarist, who always insists that the economy is screwed no matter what the numbers say, is not the best thing to do if you're unemployed.

      •  That's a pretty outrageous statement. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cybrestrike, greengemini

        ...But, it's a typical comment from you, regrettably. It's too bad you're having such a difficult time distinguishing the political implications of quantitative facts from the anecdotal happenstance. It's a case of discerning actual political realities versus coming to inaccurate conclusions based upon a myopic (and statistically distorted) view of tactile truths. Now, if only your immediate friends' votes were all that mattered in the upcoming mid-term elections, that would be a great thing for Democrats. Unfortunately, that's not the case.

        "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

        by bobswern on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 10:45:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Then again, with Ben Bernanke setting the tone... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Sandino, cybrestrike

          ...and concurring with my posted observations, perhaps there's more to my posts than your perception that "the economy is screwed no matter what the numbers say." Because to those that manage our economy, the numbers are saying quite a lot of late. And, message to them from what those numbers say is that things aren't good...despite your insistence to the contrary.

          Put another way, people like to "hope," but it's possible to do that without sticking one's head in the sand.

          "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

          by bobswern on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 10:48:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Perhaps if you took a balanced view... (0+ / 0-)

          ... of what the economic indicators are telling us you wouldn't leave yourself open to such an accusation. Face it, even on a day when everything looks up for the economy you'll still dig deep to cherry pick news items that back up your perspective that the economy is screwed. It's pretty rare when you do anything besides accentuate the negative. In the long term that puts your ability to discern what's good or bad into question when it's quite clear that you have no interest in good news.

          What exactly is outrageous? That I see with my own eyes positive indicators the economy is on the upswing, qualified by a disclaimer that my evidence is anecdotal? I know it flies in the face of your dim view of the Obama Administration's handling of the economy, but I wouldn't necessarily call it "outrageous". If only you were as honest to qualify your remarks with a disclaimer that you're not interested in any positive news that challenges your negative view.

          I know the economy isn't great, but it's obvious that things are getting better. No one would know that from reading your diaries.

    •  From your mouth to god's ear. (0+ / 0-)

      That's pretty much how I feel.  I'm job-hunting again, because subbing isn't cutting it.  There's a bit more available that I qualify to do, but the competition is going to be fierce.  A real jobs program would help me immensely.

      "Fighting Fascism is Always Cool." -- Amsterdam Weekly, volume three, issue 18 (-8.50, -7.23)

      by Noor B on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 10:28:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I agree (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobswern, papicek, greengemini, Wolf10, hmiller

    the numbers are not good, but I also know that the overall trend has been better, and that still counts for something.  

    The establishment numbers in the chart at the link seem to indicate new government jobs to be 39,000 of the 162,000 increase.  Its below keeping even, but its one of the few times in almost 18 months its not downwards.   That may be a blip, or it may be the start of increasing employment.

    From a human suffering standpoint it remains insufficient, but also from a human suffering standpoint its better than losing the better part of a million jobs or even half a million jobs.

    We still need a real jobs bill, we need the Senate to buckle down and pass appropriate long term extensions of benefits to the unemployed.

    On the other hand, as always, I am waiting for the concrete strategy to get the votes in the Senate because I don't see one myself.

  •  It is getting ugly out there... (4+ / 0-)

    This morning we see another 460,000 people lost their jobs last week, and I read an article in the WSJ indicating that the "long-term jobless"—people out of work more than six months (27 weeks) — was about 44% of all people unemployed in February. A year ago that number was 24.6%. And youth unemployment (under 25) is now over 20%. Historically, these are numbers that lead to rioting.

    But the captain has it all under control...

    The era of procrastination, half-measures, soothing & baffling expedients, & delays, is coming to a close. We are entering a period of consequences - Ch

    by PrometheusUnbound on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 08:47:50 AM PDT

  •  After My Situation........... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bobswern, greengemini

    I am beginning to question our Democrat House and Senate. Get a job, lose a job (missed one day) and all because I went to work as a temporary census worker. I lost all benefits last week because the Democratic House and Republican Congress-people decided to go on VACATION instead of extending (even for 6 weeks) benefits for the 99-Weekers, like myself.

    Now, I am Unemployed, no income and heading to the welfare office tomorrow. Life sucks!

  •  "help to create conditions for renewed hiring" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Noor B, bobswern, cybrestrike

    The key word in bold letters:Conditions

    So in the mean time the Administration lets folks languish on unemployment benefits (if their so lucky, insert sarcastic laughter here) instead of creating job programs that would really help.

    In short, we don't need "conditions" Mister President, we need jobs!

    New improved bipartisanship! Now comes in a convenient suppository!!! -unbozo

    by Unbozo on Thu Apr 08, 2010 at 10:48:06 AM PDT

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