I don't care how expected or unexpected the rise in jobless claims last week was. The fact is, years after the recession supposedly ended, we still have more than 400,000 Americans a week filing claims for benefits.
Applications for jobless benefits increased 10,000 in the week ended July 16 to 418,000, Labor Department figures showed today. Economists forecast 410,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey. The data included about 1,750 additional job cuts due to the Minnesota government shutdown, the agency said.
Employers have been reluctant to hire more workers over the past two months on concern the recovery was slowing and growing unease over stalled negotiations to extend the federal debt ceiling and reduce the budget deficit. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke last week said recent data showed "continuing weakness" in the labor market.
"The labor market is still quite fragile," said Tom Porcelli, chief U.S. economist at RBC Capital Markets Corp. in New York, who correctly forecast the rise in claims. "The pace of firings continues to move sideways and it's obvious there is not a lot of hiring going on. There is not a lot of demand right now."
The four-week moving average of claims, a less-volatile measure, fell to 421,250, a three-month low, from 424,000.
With talk that a short term debt limit might be enacted, the probability that the problem with finding ways to encourage hiring will be consigned to the back burner is very high. Obama is doing nothing - literally nothing - about jobs. The GOP should be holding press conferences every day, castigating the president for ignoring the plight of millions of Americans. They should also come up with their own plan and tout it as often as possible.
People don't really care about the debt limit - except how it might affect their employment situation. The key to victory in 2012 will be jobs - which party has the best plan to unleash the jobs machine and get America back to work.