Oct 18, 2014. The Republicans left Obama with unemployment claims running higher than at any time since Reagan in 1982. Democrats (with the Republicans obstructing) reduced that to its lowest level in 14 years according to the Press. But, compared to the number of jobs, it’s at its lowest level since they started collecting data in 1967. [Email the Fact Card]
Is it Just That the Unemployed Are Giving Up?
No. These are “initial” claims — first claims by people who have just been laid off. There are always a lot of “discouraged workers” who are not counted as unemployed. And this time is worse, because Bush’s 2008 recession was so severe. But this number tells us the job market is now as good as it’s been in a long time. Here’s why.
Unemployment claims are closely related to layoffs. But in a fairly tight job market, claims are lower because workers can find a new job quickly. This makes unemployment claims a better indicator of how good the job market is.
Unemployment is still a problem, but job growth is greater than at any point since the Republicans lost power. There is extremely widespread agreement among economists the Democratic stimulus enacted by Obama almost immediately explains why the US is doing so much better than Europe. Unfortunately it did not last as long as needed and Republicans prevented any further stimulus.