Every Thursday, the financial markets wait with bated breath for the weekly jobless claims report.
The pundits claim any number below 400,000 is reason for optimism.
If the number is above 400,000, the analysts say just wait until next week.
It’s not that 400,000 people seeking first time unemployment checks is somehow a mystical line in the sand, it’s just the accepted number for economic improvement.
In addition to the magical Thursday number are the always expected words “revised from an initial estimate.”
Somehow, the BLS always understates the initial number and then always revises it upward.
Is it even statistically possible to have that happen week after week after week (conspiracy theory?)
While most people anticipate the Thursday jobs number and salivate even more while awaiting the monthly employment report, I turn my attention to the one line in the weekly report, which to me, says it all.
The information I’m referring to is usually included at the end the report, but rarely discussed.
It’s the total number of people who have received some kind of government benefit.
The initial form of unemployment compensation is a payment made by the state that usually lasts for 26 weeks.
As the crisis mounted and unemployment substantially increased, the federal government stepped in to create an additional safety net.
Benefits were continually lengthened to such an extent that we now have what is called EUC (Emergency Unemployment Compensation), a combination of state and federal benefits lasting as long as 99 weeks.
When this number was initially established, nobody really thought Americans would be out of work for 99 weeks.
That kind of thinking in America was ludicrous, and even heretical.
Now, it seems heresy has turned into reality with ongoing governmental discussions regarding doubling the time of unemployment benefits.
I’ll let others debate the pros and cons (material for another column.)
What I do know, however, is that the more than 1.6 million people have dropped from the expanded unemployment rolls over the past year.
That means no job, no income, no money, and clearly no hope.
The numbers game played by the administration cannot couch the reality that the 1.6 million people desperately searching for work each and every day are facing extremely long odds.
This is not recessionary fiction, its definite economic depression fact.
It’s time to repatriate the jobs from overseas and put Americans back to work.
I know of 1.6 million Americans who would certainly agree with me