Blip or trend?
For the third straight week, the number of Americans filing for new unemployment benefits rose. Thursday’s increase was quite dramatic. Though economists expected new claims to fall to 350,000, claims actually rose to 385,000 — the highest number since November.
The four-week rolling average also increased to 354,250.
This news comes a day after even worse news was released about job creation. According to Reuters, “private employers added the fewest jobs in five months in March.”
Though February did bring good news from the labor market — 236,000 new private sector jobs and a dip in the unemployment rate — there was speculation that unseasonably warm weather had caused an artificial bump in February hiring, especially in the construction business.
In other words, rather than the economy creating an improved job-creation situation, the weather created an artificial sugar high where jobs normally created in March were poached in February. If that’s the case, there will be no net increase in new jobs created this spring.
If what we have here is a trend in which the job-creation situation is getting worse, this is terrible news for America’s poor — those living on the margins and smacked hardest by any negative trend in the American economy. Wednesday, courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, we learned that poverty in America has just hit its highest level since the Lyndon Johnson administration. A full one-in-six, roughly 50 million Americans, now live below the poverty line.
Even worse news for America’s poor, though, is that no one cares about their plight. Desperate to keep Obama politically viable, rather than focus on the increase in poverty, our anemic GDP, and weak job growth, the media instead focuses on gun control and immigration reform — the divisive cultural issues that keep Obama in the 50% approval range.
Nothing can drain a president’s approval rating and political strength faster than a bad economy for which he is responsible. So rather than focus on the economy, which might result in some action that improves the situation for America’s poor, Obama and his media choose to pretend none of this is happening.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC