Commentary Magazine


More Than a Quarter Million New Unemployed

There is no way to sugarcoat the appallingly bad economic news this morning:

The unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent in September as employers cut far more jobs than expected, evidence that the longest recession since the 1930s is still inflicting widespread pain. The Labor Department said Friday that the economy lost a net total of 263,000 jobs last month, up from a downwardly revised 201,000 in August. That’s above Wall Street economists’ expectations of 180,000 job losses, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters.

Obama and his team have been giving the “light at the end of the tunnel” spiel for weeks and have been pointing to a momentary slowdown in the rate at which unemployment was increasing (yes, a thin reed to cling to). Now they will have to deal with a new round of criticism. What did the trillion-dollar stimulus get us? Why are we dreaming up new ways to burden employers and hike taxes rather than stimulate job creation? Good questions all. Maybe Obama can go on five more TV talk shows when he returns from hawking the Olympics and explain what his jobs plan is.