Job Market Losses: Would you call this … “good news”?

Unemployed man looking for a job The economy is not getting worse at a faster pace.

That bit of Orwellian doublespeak seems to be the positive message in the latest numbers on workers who are filing jobless claims. Jobless claims increased by 1,000 in the week ending January 2, compared to the previous week, according to a report released yesterday by the Department of Labor. This is considered good news, because it means joblessness is starting to decline.

In November, the unemployment rate was 10% nationwide, according to another report. In my home state of Michigan, it was much higher.


Factor in the under-employed and discouraged job seekers and the unemployment rate is over 17%, according to Department of Labor analysts. (Here’s an NPR story on this larger perspective.) The under-employed are people working part time who want full-time work. Discouraged job seekers are those who have lost jobs and just gave up on finding work.

This morning, the department released its employment figures for December—85,000 jobs were cut, more than expected but not as bad as earlier in 2009. Unemployment remains at 10% nationwide. Does this mean the economy continues to not get worse at a faster pace?

Are you encouraged by these figures? Or, are you skeptical that we are climbing out of the economic hole?


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