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Bad job numbers


Ruh-roh. After sticking around 460,000 for weeks, jobless claims jumped to 472,000 last week. Economists had expected them to fall to the high 450s. That's not a good sign in advance of tomorrow's unemployment report. In fact, it's not a good sign at all. My colleague Neil Irwin, who knows about these things, tweets, "Semi-Benign explanation: Pessimistic workers are quicker to file claims. Non-benign: Double dip time."

Oh, and in case I forgot to mention it, Senate Republicans and Ben Nelson joined together to filibuster an extension in unemployment benefits last night. My great fear is that the Tom Toles cartoon atop this post is wrong. In the first phase, the financial crisis, the government screamed, and did everything it could to rescue the economy. In the second phase, when the financial crisis became a demand crisis, the public screamed, and the government did quite a lot -- though not enough -- to help. But as the demand crisis reveals itself as a persistent jobs crisis -- the third phase -- we're getting used to it, and Senate Republicans are turning their attention to the midterms, and there's a real danger that we just settle into a new, awful, and unnecessary normal.

By Ezra Klein  |  July 1, 2010; 11:09 AM ET
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Next: Research desk is open


Too bad you don't have Journolist available to bounce ideas on how to best spin this for the Democrats.

Posted by: JakeD2 | July 1, 2010 11:15 AM | Report abuse

JakeD2 substitutes repetition and annoyance for wit and intelligence.

Posted by: Patrick_M | July 1, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse


Where is the transcript of your criminal record? It's been rumored that you're a convicted felon. If that's not true, you'd prove it by providing the file.

Posted by: jldarden | July 1, 2010 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Some things to keep in mind:

1) Census is currently rapidly unwinding its temp hires, to the tune of 80k+ a week. Some of those will be eligible for claims depending on their prior work histories.

2) The initial claims figure represents claims, not necessarily approvals. I've heard that, during normal times, up to half of all claims are rejected. But the flood of former Census workers may be toying with the claimed-approved ratio.

3) Since Friday's employment report's surveys are done in periods centered earlier in the month, this week's claims figures don't really say much about it at all. The fact that it spiked during the survey week (a couple weeks ago) does, as does the fact that claims have essentially not shifted since November.

Posted by: TheodoreLittleton | July 1, 2010 11:28 AM | Report abuse

the u.s. is paying itself back the money it gave to banks by not extending unemployment checks. it is a convoluted and inhumane economic theory. also a symptom of a governing system that does not work.

Posted by: VMzJxah | July 1, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse


Too bad that no one is offering $100,000+ for my alleged criminal record ; )

Posted by: JakeD2 | July 1, 2010 11:46 AM | Report abuse

Such is the market's will, and we all know that the market has a plan for us, even if we don't understand it.

Posted by: MosBen | July 1, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Keith Olbermann had a great point last night about the stock market disconnect (well, until the last few days) and employment: Businesses have laid off workers and slashed costs; now they are getting more productivity from the remaining workers plus temps and independent contractors to whom they do not have to pay benefits. So profits are recovering (and stock prices, still at least 50% off the March 2009 lows) but we face structural, permanent job losses that are curtailing consumer demand. Many businesses don't care because they think they can sell to China or India or Europe. But services are down because they are local. So consumer demand is stagnating with the retrenchment of debt and loss of incomes. How do we as a nation, as opposed to large businesses, recover from the meltdown?

Posted by: Mimikatz | July 1, 2010 12:11 PM | Report abuse

The republican’s weren’t worried about the deficit when that big insurance company and their friends the Wall Street execs were giving themselves bonuses with taxpayer money!!! Next election – let Congress feel the sting of the unemployment lines!!! No more raping and pillaging the middle class!!! – How many years have you paid taxes? 30? 40? Your government bails out bankers and Wall Street execs using your tax dollars – but unemployment is allowed to expire? What happened to "by the people" or "for the people"? Or are the big campaign contributors the only "people" who count to congress? They are playing games AGAIN FOR THE THIRD TIME while you are wondering how to feed your kids? Figure it out! Malfeasance – Failure of a public official to perform their duties!!! Next Election MAKE YOURSELF MATTER BY VOTING!!! 10% unemployment carries 10% of the vote! Use it!! Fire them all next election or recall every Congress member NOW for Malfeasance – Failure of a public official to perform their duties!!! Next Election - Lets get people elected who actually represent all the People- this current congress represents only special interest groups!

Posted by: agh1 | July 1, 2010 1:01 PM | Report abuse

agh1, before we fire them all, lets remember that the unemployment extension has the support of a majority of the senate +8 votes, but that the REPUBLICANS, BY INSISTING ON CLOTURE, ARE BLOCKING THE VOTE ON THE UNEMPLOYMENT EXTENSION. If the senate were sane and operated on majority rule AS IT WAS DESIGNED BY THE FOUNDERS TO, this would be a non issue. The dems have repeatedly watered down legislation to get the 59th and 60th votes, making their proposed solutions to the economic crisis much less robust.

Posted by: srw3 | July 1, 2010 1:50 PM | Report abuse


No Founding Father envisioned government spending in excess of $3 TRILLION. Nobody knows what would have happened without all of that government spending.

Posted by: JakeD2 | July 1, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I do. Begins with a D. Rhymes with recession.

Posted by: archamprog | July 1, 2010 3:20 PM | Report abuse

No, that's just your projection. As I said, nobody KNOWS for sure.

Posted by: JakeD2 | July 1, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

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