Eric Dickson

The talk on the Street last week was that jobless claims dropped to a 3-month low, possibly signaling that employers are slowing down their firings, which can be perceived as being more optimistic about future growth prospects.

But I want you to think about this the next time you’re wondering when the economy is going to pick up…

One out of every eight Americans is on food stamps!

The number of Americans on food stamps is up 18% from last year, and regardless of how optimistic or gloomy you are on our economic forecast, this is bad.

What this means to me is that one out of every eight of us depend on the government to live, whether by choice or necessity, but regardless, we need to move these individuals off the governments tet, and into the job markets.

To compound this, unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, increased to 10.1% in September, which is up from 9.3% in August and 8.9% in July.

And one last figure to keep in mind when politicians and analysts talk about the job market is underemployment…

Underemployment includes three classifications of persons and is a much better gauge of job market strength, yet it’s rarely talked about. It includes: unemployed workers who are actively looking for work, involuntarily part-time workers who want full-time work but have had to settle for part-time hours, and marginally attached workers who want and are available for a job, but are not actively looking.

Most recent underemployment data shows that it has modestly increased in Q3, up from 18.4% in July to 18.8% in September… but it’s still lower than when it peaked at 20.4% in April.

So while jobless claims are dropping, unemployment, food stamps and underemployment are up – sounds like the artist is trying to paint a pretty picture over some not so pretty canvas.