John Ransom

Good news everyone: Jobless claims on a weekly basis fell to a five-year low according to the Labor Department.

Bad news everyone: Yet still more people remain jobless.

And why is that? Because Obama doesn’t care about jobs.

When you reckon out the newest jobless figures using the Obama’s best calculus, the weekly decline doesn’t mean that fewer people are unemployed.

That would be asking way too much from an administration that seems phobic about private-sector job creation.

“Applications for jobless benefits decreased by 37,000 to 335,000 in the week ended Jan. 12, the lowest level since the period ended Jan. 19, 2008, Labor Department figures showed today,” reports Bloomberg. “Economists forecast 369,000 claims, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey. A spokesman for the agency said the drop may reflect the difficulty the government has in adjusting the data after the holidays when seasonal workers are let go.” [Ransom’s emphasis]

See?

And I bet you wanted jobless figure to reflect actual joblessness.

Ha! Fat chance.

You obviously know nothing about good government.

The murky math that shows claims falling is belied by other statistics released by the Labor Department that look at long term trends in unemployment: 3.21 million continue to receive regular jobless benefits, and another 2.06 million are receiving extended benefits under a federal emergency program. Joblessness amongst those eligible for benefits- our newest employed- rose 2.5 percent, all according to Bloomberg.

An unidentified Labor Department official told Bloomberg that jobless claims this week are likely a “short-term distortion.”

“Our weekly numbers bounce around quite a bit,” the Labor Department official said as the figures were released. In the first couple weeks of January, unadjusted claims typically rise to the highest level of the year. The increase this week was smaller than the agency anticipated in adjusting the data.

“This tends to be a short-term distortion,” he said, noting that similar patterns occurred in January 2007 and 2008.    

At best the jobless trend is flat, echoes our friend(s) over at Political Calculations.


John Ransom

John Ransom is the Finance Editor for Townhall Finance.