Applications for jobless benefits increased by 51,000 to 454,000 in the week ended Jan. 22, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 405,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls rose, while those collecting extended payments fell.
The number of people continuing to collect jobless benefits increased by 94,000 in the week ended Jan. 15 to 3.99 million. Economists forecast the number would increase to 3.87 million.
The continuing claims figure does not include the number of workers receiving extended benefits under federal programs.
In the state of the union address, President Obama said that extending the tax cuts would create more jobs to add to the million jobs created by the private sector last year. I've pointed out that math isn't my strong suit in the past, but one million jobs is barely a drop in the bucket, when one thinks about either the official unemployment number of 9.4 percent or the real one, which is closer to 20% of the country being out of work.
Still, this kind of unemployment is never presented as any sort of an urgent crisis, despite the fact that it's affecting local, state, and federal revenue. This is the language of obfuscation:
Economic expansion in the U.S. is “continuing, though at a rate that has been insufficient to bring about a significant improvement in labor market conditions,” the Federal Open Market Committee said yesterday in its statement after a two-day meeting in Washington.
Unemployment is too high to be consistent in the long run with policy makers’ congressional mandate of full employment, the Fed said, repeating that progress toward its objectives has been “disappointingly slow.”
It's disappointing that we seem to be wedded to policies that aren't working.
cross-posted at MainSt/workingamerica.org