James Pethokoukis

The 9.6 percent unemployment rate and the 2010 midterms

September 3, 2010

Today’s dismal unemployment report fully locks in the autumn political narrative:

Did Goldmans Sachs just douse Dems 2010 election hopes?

June 18, 2010

Liberal pundits and economists such as Paul Krugman have no use for the White House “Summer Recovery” PR tour. (Note that it isn’t called the “Prosperity Tour.”) They continue to attack the Obama administration for worrying too much about the budget deficit and too little about high unemployment. The White House response has been three-fold.

American job insecurity

April 26, 2010

Two interesting polls from Gallup show why a few ticks in the unemployment rate here and there are really besides the point. (Thanks to Jim Geraghty of NR.)  This downturn has scarred the American psyche. The first chart shows how worried workers are about finding a comparable job if they ever lose their current one. The second chart shows that they are still pretty worried about losing their existing job.

Why U.S. labor markets may stay in a funk

March 22, 2010

“The Labor Market in the Great Recession” is an interesting new paper that looks at where the job market may be heading, as well as how it has fared the past few years. The latter points first:

The cure for high unemployment

March 15, 2010

Gary Becker gets straight to the point:

The only real remedy for the long-term (and other) unemployed is to have the economy grow fast, as it did after the severe recession in 1982 when unemployment peaked in December of that year at 10.8%, and then fell rather rapidly. There is no magic bullet to accomplish this, but I do believe it would help a lot if the leaders in Washington did not try to radically transform various aspects of the economy while we are recovering from a serious recession, and thereby magnify the high degree of uncertainty that is typically caused by a recession. Instead, they should be concentrating on fighting the recession, and stimulating long-term economic growth.

Unemployment and the 2010 midterms

February 22, 2010

Charlie Cook has it exactly correct in this piece of analysis:

I’ve spent the last couple of days talking to some of the brightest Democrats in the party that are not in the White House. And it’s very hard to come up with a scenario where Democrats don’t lose the House. It’s very hard. Are the seats there right this second? No. But we’re on a trajectory on the House turning over….
There are nine months, certainly things could happen, but the odds of unemployment being below 9 percent are minimal by the time of this election. We’re probably going to have a year of basically, more or less, 10 percent unemployment, which hasn’t happened since the Great Depression. I mean, in fact, in an even-numbered year there’s only been one month of double-digit unemployment in the post-War era. One month. And now we’re going to have probably about a year.

The jobs bill

February 12, 2010

1) Obama administration economists reckon the jobless rate will hover around 10 percent this year, and now say the U.S. economy will generate an average of just 95,000 jobs a month. That tallies with Team Obama’s forecast of anemic 3.0 percent GDP growth. Monthly job growth of 125,000 to 150,000 is needed to start bringing the unemployment rate down from its current 9.7 percent. That’s what would normally be expected more than two years after the onset of a recession. It’s not happening — at least not yet.

Obama’s unemployment forecasts

February 2, 2010

Brad DeLong looks at the Obama unemployment forecasting record:

delongchart

CBO paints nightmare scenario for Democrats in 2010

January 26, 2010

According to the new CBO economic and budget forecast,  the US economy will grow at just 2.2 percent next year, keeping unemployment above  10 percent. In fact, it has the jobless rate averaging 10.1 percent vs. 9.3 percent in 2009. As the CBO puts it: