Thursday, April 14, 2011

What Do We Want? Jobs! When Do We Want Them? Now!

Today's Initial Unemployment Claims report for last week is out and the intial claims have jumped back up over 400k. Via Reuters:

A second report from the Labor Department showed initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 27,000 to a seasonally adjusted 412,000, well above economists' expectations for a fall to 380,000.

The four-week moving average of unemployment claims -- a better measure of underlying trends - climbed 5,500 to 395,750.

The first report the article covers is the Producer Price Index, defined here. Also from the linked Reuters article:
The Labor Department said on Thursday its seasonally adjusted index for prices paid at the farm and factory gate -- excluding volatile food and energy costs -- rose 0.3 percent after gaining 0.2 percent in February. Economists had expected core PPI to rise 0.2 percent in March.

David Dayen at FDL News this morning says this:
But the bad economy only makes this worse. There’s a ton of idle capacity in the economy, a demand shortfall that forces millions of potentially productive workers to the sidelines. USAT estimates 27 MILLION non-working adults; that’s inexcusable. And they will not be helped by contractionary fiscal policy that lowers demand even further.
Now the official Unemployment rate at 8.8% is roughly 14 to 15 million people with the Underemployed getting the number up to 25 - 30 million . Dayen's numbers reinforce my contention over the last few months that the official numbers have been woefully understated (see here and here for example.)

Today's Washington Post had this article on the increased hiring of veterans in a 'good news, bad news' kind of way:
Veterans made up more than a quarter of new hires by the federal government in the last fiscal year, registering a slight increase since the Obama administration pledged to bring more servicemembers returning to civilian life into the civil service.

Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry attributed the progress in the employment of veterans, including those disabled in combat, to an “aggressive” effort to find them good government jobs.

But despite efforts by the private sector and the government, 27 percent of veterans in their early 20s were unemployed in February, while 9 percent of veterans overall are without jobs, several senators and veterans groups said Wednesday as they opened a hearing on Capitol Hill on the high employment barriers veterans face.

We keep reading about how the economy is improving through articles like this one from today's NY Times and this one from Reuters. From the Times article:
Economic activity in the United States continued to improve over the last month, helped by the manufacturing and retail sectors, but the disaster in Japan and higher energy prices created new uncertainty about the outlook, according to a survey of the Federal Reserve’s 12 districts released on Wednesday.

The central bank report on economic activity, called the beige book, reported a “steady improvement” in manufacturing, often including hiring, and at least 10 districts cited “slight gains” in consumer spending.
From the Reuters article:
(Reuters) - Surging inflation pressures and the natural disasters that ravaged Japan last month look unlikely to stall an ascendant global economy, a Reuters poll of around 350 economists showed on Thursday.

The survey of analysts from all over the world again showed the United States leading a rich-world recovery along with Canada, while respondents expect a jumble of strong and weak performances from the top European economies.
So I guess things are getting better, except for the long term Un and Underemployed, who are seemingly being forgotten by most of the people in power. One possible exception just might be Representative Joseph Crowley (D-NY) who gave this "speech" this morning on the House floor:

No additional snark required.

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