The Campaign Spot

9.9 Percent Unemployment, 99 Vulnerable House Democrats — I See a Connection!

“The storm is receding and the skies are brightening,” Obama said, days before unemployment increased from 9.7 percent to 9.9 percent.

Okay, so our economy actually created a decent number of jobs this month, which is actual good news. Not the “things are getting worse less rapidly than they were before” good news, but good news that represents actual progress.

But discouraged workers – those who had given up looking for work — are getting off the sidelines, and so we’re seeing the inverse of the phenomenon I described in this video. Instead of moving from “unemployed” to “discouraged,” workers who were “discouraged” are looking for work and not finding it, putting them back in the “unemployed” category.

That modest good news of jobs created is overwhelmed by the bigger picture:

The U.S. jobless rate rose to 9.9% in April, the first increase in three months, but the government’s broader measure of unemployment ticked up for the third month in a row, rising 0.2 percentage point to 17.1%.

The comprehensive gauge of labor underutilization, known as the “U-6″ for its data classification by the Labor Department, accounts for people who have stopped looking for work or who can’t find full-time jobs. Though the rate is still 0.3 percentage point below its high of 17.4% in October, its continuing divergence from the official number (the “U-3″ unemployment measure) indicates the job market has a long way to go before growth in the economy translates into relief for workers.

(On another video, I showcased all the gloomy signs of a lousy economy, even in a community where the official unemployment rate is only a bit above 5 percent.) If the unemployment numbers in September and October are close to today’s 9.9 percent, the number of GOP wins will be on the high end of that list of 99 I assembled.

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