From updates done today at previous posts:
- Latest PJ Media column tease, posted yesterday — Excluding just four states (TX, UT, OK, and ND), the nation’s unemployment rate in October 2012 leading up to Election Day was 8.2%.
- Unemployment Claims Post, Jan. 17 – Readers may recall that raw (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) claims were greater than the same week a year ago for the first time in what I said was a long but undefined time for a truly comparable full business week. I have now found that “the last truly comparable week when current year claims exceeded the comparable full business week in the prior year” was the week of October 31, 2009, or 167 weeks ago. That is ominous. (Data can be found by going to this interactive link at the Department of Labor)
Along the way (at the same DOL link), I noticed that “covered employment,” meaning those who would be eligible for unemployment benefits if they were to be laid off, is STILL almost six million below what it was during the recession. Specifics: Covered employment is currently 128.066 million. That’s 5.836 million lower than it was during the final weeks of 2008, when it was 133.902 million. When the recession officially ended six months later, covered employment was still 133.683 million. Employment is increasing — not fast enough, but it is increasing. The decline in covered employment (its absolute low was 125.572 million in early 2011, so it’s only 30% of the way back to its peak over four years ago) must mean that an awful lot of the jobs workers are taking involve part-time and contract work.
In his second inauguratal speech today, President Obama said that after four years at the helm, “An economic recovery has begun.” I wouldn’t be so sure about that. It looks to me like it might — once again — be stalling.
UPDATE, Jan. 22: The fact that Obama could only say that “An economic recovery has begun” is a startling admission of abject first-term failure.