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