On Thursday, a Labor Department report was released that showed applications for unemployment dropped 23,000 for the week ending October 11, which brought the number to 264,000. The was the lowest figure in 14 years. It was also lower than a survey by Bloomberg of economists, which noted that "companies are beefing up staff as payrolls this year remain on track for their biggest gain since 1999."
Combine this with the most recent jobless report of 5.9% -- down almost two points from 7.8% when Barack Obama took office -- and it's no wonder that news broadcasts are trumpeting the economy as the lead story all over the... well, okay, so they're not. In fact, you might be hard-pressed ti gave even found the story.
I know there are many factors that go into unemployment figures. And I know that those on the far-right, unwilling to grant any positive news from "That one" in the White House, often suggest that numbers such as these really mean just that people have given up looking for jobs. (Which is of course a no-win situation -- if the figures had gone up, they'd blame President Obama. And when the figures go down, they blame President Obama. Okay, we get it...)
The thing is, there are a few problem with the "people have just given up looking for work" theory here.
The first is that this news report isn't about people looking for work, it's about people filing for unemployment. If you've given up looking for work, you are most definitely going to keep filing for unemployment, more than ever. And second, the "there are no jobs, so people have given up looking" theory runs count to what Bloomberg found -- that "companies are beefing up staff."
To be clear, the world economy is having troubles, and that could impact the U.S. negatively. And it's not a case of the U.S. economy being strong and vibrant. But...but...you'd still think that when jobless claims are their lowest in 14 years and unemployment is down to 5.9%, this would be considered A Good Thing, and reported and discussed as significant, particularly right before an election.
And you know that if this was during a Republican administration it would be almost all you'd hear about on "Fox News."
Well, whether it's reported widely or not, facts are facts. And it's good to see.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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