The Jobless Recovery

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Jan. 7 2011 8:38 AM

The Jobless Recovery

How's the new economic data look? It depends if you're an investor or a worker. If you're an investor , Barack Obama's socialism has really backfired.

Technology and industrial companies paved the way for whatmay have been the strongest year for U.S. profits since 2007 andthe best fourth quarter since Bloomberg began keeping the datain 1992. S&P 500 companies have already exceeded the averageanalyst profit estimate for six straight quarters, the longeststreak in Bloomberg data going back to 1993.

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That's good. The unemployment numbers mostly aren't. The headline is that unemployment dropped from 9.8 percent to 9.4 percent in December. But that only represents an increase of 103,000 jobs.

        About 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in December, little different than a year earlier. (The data are not
        
seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime
in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Among the marginally attached, there were 1.3 million discouraged workers in December, an increase of 389,000 from December 2009.

Worth remembering at this point that the Democratic response to this is to hire a well-connected WH Chief of Staff and the Republican response is to pas repeal bills as ask businesses what deregulations they need to start creating jobs.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter. 

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