Weekly unemployment claims came in about as expected, which is good news considering our expectations for this economy are so low.
“In the week ending March 15,” says the Department of Labor, “the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 320,000, an increase of 5,000 from the previous week's unrevised figure of 315,000. The 4-week moving average was 327,000, a decrease of 3,500 from the previous week's unrevised average of 330,500.”
Economists expected 325,000 new claims.
With an administration like this we ought change their slogan to: “Working so hard, so you don’t have to... because getting you jobs would be kind of hard.”
Woe to thee, O land, when thy king is a child, and thy princes eat in the morning!
While the Federal Reserve has said that the labor market is stronger than they expected, they also said that unemployment remains “elevated” and that the economy is growing slower than they had forecast.
“They estimated the economy would expand at a rate of 2.8% to 3% this year,” reports the LA Times, “down from the December projection of 2.8% to 3.2%.”
That’s a fairly substantial rip downward in growth, and it’s still too high as forecasts go.
At this clip, just like unemployment, maybe they can get the growth rate to zero just in time for the election.
Zero unemployment, zero growth and zero hope.
When they said an economy “built to last,” they meant it. We just didn’t know that it would last this long so badly.
Because hidden inside the Fed-speak we heard yesterday is this simple acknowledgement: The Fed has a $4 trillion balance sheet of U.S. debt, and the rest of us have nothing to show for it but inflated retirement accounts which we pay for with higher prices as the gas pump.
They have abandoned the unemployment rate as a benchmark to guide policy decisions because the number no longer means anything. But still they have to cover the president’s rear: "Progress in the labor market has been more rapid than we had anticipated," said Fed Chair Janet Yellen while also saying that the Fed would look at other measures of economic strength, because unemployment means nothing anymore.
It’s worth noting that the rest of us abandoned the unemployment rate as a meaningful measure of the economy in the same proportion workers abandoned looking for work.
But when you live in an Ivory Tower, as D.C. does, reality is optional, even frowned upon.
The recovery-that-wasn’t has lasted so long, and has been so dour, that anything less than a giant sucking sound in the labor market is labor is considered progress.
Well, is certainly is progressive, I’ll agree.
The single greatest anti-poverty program in the history of the world is the American economy, even with all the damage that’s been done by Washington. The greatest engine of economic growth is also found here at home.
Only progressives rooted in the failed religion of socialism, a religion that’s led to more intentional poverty, pestilence and death than anything yet invented out of the mind of man, could screw up: 1) a trillion dollar stimulus package; 2) a four trillion dollar cash infusion from the Fed; and 3) the native resilience of the American people.
“Although estimates vary,” says Joel Kurtzman, senior fellow at the Milken Institute, “American companies have between $4 and $5 trillion in liquid assets, a sum greater than the size of the German economy."
And if companies truly were the greed-machines that progressives claim they are, they wouldn’t be hoarding cash, the very worst investment around today.
But the uncertainty surrounding fiscal policy in D.C., especially in regard to taxes, makes some investments risky.
Which ones you ask?
People. The very investments we need to make.
Hiring will continue to suffer as the administration continues to use a blunt force instrument to raise taxes, socially engineer and run the economy as a fantasy camp experience, rather than govern the old-fashioned way: by peace and prosperity.
“They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.”
And there’s no prosperity either.
See you at the gas pump.