James Pethokoukis

US unemployment rate surges to 10.2 percent; 190,000 jobs lost in October

November 6, 2009

This is an extraordinarily bad number, and makes this week a 1-2 punch for Democrats. A 10.2 percent jobless rate is the highest since April 1983, even though the labor force participation rate actually dipped a bit. The broader U6 measured surged to 17.5 percent. Recall that 7 quarters of average GDP growth of roughly 7 percent in the 1980s only brought down the unemployment rate by 2 1/2 percentage points. As the Labor Department sums things up:

Economic fears drive Pelosi’s healthcare push

October 30, 2009

First you have to realize that Mark Zandi has become the de facto chief economist for congressional Democrats. Here is a bit from his testimony yesterday to the Joint Economic Committee:

Obama’s bad economic bet may ruin Democrats

October 29, 2009

The anemic third-quarter U.S. GDP report is another indication that President Barack Obama’s economic gamble may yet fail to pay off. And that could be terrible news for Democrats heading into the 2010 midterm elections.

Scary unemployment in metro areas

October 26, 2009

An analysis by IHS Global Insight looks at unemployment in major metro areas:

Looking ahead, payrolls will be rising in most metros for consecutive quarters a year from now, but the unemployment rate will have shown little improvement, as employment gains will not be sufficient to absorb enough job seekers.  A third of metro areas will have jobless rates in double digits in the fourth quarter of 2010, with 16 exceeding 15%.  … By the end of 2012, the jobless rate will still be above historic norms, but it will finally slip below 8% in more than half of metro areas.

U.S. unemployment, state by state

October 22, 2009

A great map by NPR. Notice the high rates in swing states like Florida, Ohio and Michigan.

Romer: Unemployment likely to remain “severely elevated”

October 22, 2009

Watch CEA chair Christina Romer manage voter expectations:

Consistent with the recent cyclical pattern, the unemployment rate is predicted to continue rising for two quarters following the resumption of GDP growth. Whether this happens and how high the unemployment rate eventually rises will obviously depend on the strength of the GDP rebound. …  With predicted growth right around two and a half percent for most of the next year and a half, movements in the unemployment rate either up or down are likely to be small. As a result, unemployment is likely to remain at its severely elevated level.

Is the amazing American jobs machine broken?

October 21, 2009

This chart, constructed by the Vice President’s office via BLS data, would seem to indicate just that:

Zandi: Unemployment headed to 10.5 percent

October 12, 2009

Moody’s Economy.com economist Mark Zandi likes the stimulus (via Fox News) but still thinks unemployment is headed higher. In his own words:

Stimulus vs. Unemployment

October 7, 2009

Correlation isn’t necessarily causality. Then again

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The Michigan economic example

October 7, 2009

Both California and Michigan are turning into powerful economic examples of what not to do. Here is a bit on Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm’s green job push: