“Long term unemployment is now the norm”

NEW YORK - JUNE 04: Richard Martinez looks at employment notices on the wall at the New York State Department of Labor employment center on June 4, 2010 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Individuals looking for work can use the center to search for jobs, work on a resume and speak with employment professionals about gaining new skills. New Labor Department figures released today show that private payroll rose by 41,000, lowering the jobless rate to 9.7 percent from 9.9 percent. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

From the New York Times:

The Labor Department could provide no explanation as to why the number of people claiming continuing regular state unemployment benefits had dropped by 255,000, to 4.46 million, on a seasonally adjusted basis in the week ended May 29.

It was unlikely, as some analysts speculated, that those claimants had found jobs. The combined number of people on extended and emergency benefits — 5.39 million in the week ended May 22 — was actually higher than the 5.32 million a week earlier.

“Increasingly, those who are unemployed have been unemployed for six months or more,” said Andrew Stettner, deputy director of the National Employment Law Project. “If you’re out for more than six months, you’re not on regular benefits. Long-term unemployment is now the norm.”

Indeed, in last Friday’s complicated jobs report — indicating weak private sector hiring in May — the number of people who had been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer remained stuck at 6.8 million.

I posted a couple of months back that high levels of unemployment and a stagnating economy would be “the new normal.” Clearly, I’m not wrong in my opinions.

And why aren’t we seeing recovery? Because the economic policies being deployed by the politicians aren’t fixing anything. They’re making things worse. Higher taxes. More government debt. More regulation. More interference in the markets. All of this is creating an unfriendly business environment, and a regime of uncertainty in the country, that is driving businesses and all the jobs and prosperity they create out of the markets.

With unemployment a huge problem in this country, our policy has been to deficit spend tax dollars in the hope that it will create jobs even as we extend unemployment benefits to absurd extremes, thus paying those we want to be working to be unemployed at the expense of those we would have create jobs.

We’re not going to see recovery in this country until we get political leadership which understands that the road to economic recovery and prosperity doesn’t lay through the government.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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