The Corner

Those Unemployment Numbers

Rep. Kevin Brady, a Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, had this to say about Friday’s unemployment numbers: 

The increase in the unemployment rate to a level of 9.4 percent is disturbing for several reasons.  First, the higher unemployment rate reflects greater hardship for American workers and their families.  Second, the higher unemployment rate, along with other economic data, reflects the continuing weakness in the economy.  Third, the higher unemployment rate underscores the unrealistic nature of the Administration’s economic assumptions based on the idea that the stimulus spending would cap rising unemployment.  

The payroll employment decline reported today also shows that the economy continues to contract.  The 345,000 drop in May payroll employment is a significant monthly job loss and is broadly based in many industries.  Although the overall pace of job loss was not as terrible as in recent months, manufacturing continued to suffer large employment declines. 

There is some tentative evidence suggesting that the economy may bottom out in coming months.  For example, financial market conditions have improved, some measures of manufacturing activity have stabilized, and some data related to housing and construction are less negative.  However, measures to prevent foreclosures are not working well, and re-default rates are very high, with more loan losses to come.  Business investment has collapsed, and commercial real estate continues to be under stress.  Consumer spending is weak, and exports are falling as many of our major trading partners also experience recession…. 

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