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Unemployment Claims Up, but it’s Sunshine for Maddow Blogger-Producer

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Weekly claims for unemployment rose by 20,000 people last week.

That’s 362,000 workers who now don’t have jobs. And that’s 7,000 more out-of-work persons than economists had predicted- but don’t worry.


Everything is still great for Obama.

Every time we get bad news like this, it just seems to get better and better for Obama.

The Chicago Sun Times says that claims are up, but the good news is that they still suggest “modest hiring.”

MSNBC blogger Steve Benen, who is also a producer for the Rachel Maddow Show, says that claims are up, but notes that unemployment remains below “threshold.”  Steve has considerable economic experience as demonstrated by an advanced degree in “political management” and a White House internship under Bill Clinton- [insert joke here].

@@ ßThat’s an eye roll. 

Oh and don’t forget his work on Maddow.

“In terms of metrics,” writes Benen, “when jobless claims fall below the 400,000 threshold, it's considered evidence of an improving jobs landscape, and when the number drops below 370,000, it suggests jobs are being created rather quickly. We've been below the 370,000 threshold nine of the last 11 weeks.”

Did he mean improving jobs landscape or improving landscape jobs?

No one knows, actually: He’s a liberal.  

So hurray for Obama and his quick job creation! Is that why we need more, new tax increases? Because “jobs are being created rather quickly?”

Always beware of politicos who speak “in terms of metrics.”

Because the reality that they are trying to obscure “in terms of metrics” can be best expressed “in terms of English.”


I’m not sure where Benen got the nonsense that jobs are being created rather quickly now that jobless claims are below 370,000, but job growth under Obama has been the worst since the Great Depression, as has been widely noted.

In December the BLS reported that there were 143,305,000 jobs. In January the BLS said that there were 143,322,000 jobs. That’s a net gain of 17,000.

Rather? Quickly?

U6 unemployment, the more accurate measure of the employment situation under Obama, has barely budged off of the 14.5ish percent range this year.

And U6 unemployment isn’t the most accurate measure of the employment situation. Obama has pretty much broken the “metric”- you know, “in terms of metrics”- used to measure such things because job creation has been so slow.

The most accurate measure has to be done by hand calculation because government economists wanted to stop counting people who stopped looking for work. In 1994 government economists decided those people weren’t worth bothering about anymore.  That’s because when you add those folks into U6 you get an unemployment rate of 23 percent- and rising (please see the blue line below), at least according to one of my favorite websites ever,  

More people dropped out of the labor force in December than jobs that were created.     

So you can see it might be a little awkward for a guy with a degree in political management, like, um, Steve Benen? to support a president who has to campaign by saying “Vote for me: I brought you 23 percent unemployment!”


So he makes stuff up. That’s what they teach you in “political management.”

Here’s another way of looking at it: If U6 is 14.4 percent and real unemployment is around 23 percent, that’s 8.6 percent of the workforce that has just plain given up looking for work.    


Benen, Obama, and I suppose Maddow too, I guess, just don’t want to bother about those people anymore.

They are very busy people after all. They don’t have to look for work either… and you don’t hear them crying about it. 

As long as Uncle Ben keeps buying bonds, prices for stocks, bonds, ETFs, corn, oil, gold, and mostly for US Treasuries will keep going up.

And that means cheap money for more government spending.


Things are great for Obama.

[Jobs not included].

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