The Story Behind the Recent Jobless Claims

To truly focus on job creation, we need to a rational fiscal policy and to reform our tax code.

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David Park is cofounder and chairman of Job Creators Alliance.

For those looking for reasons for optimism in the recent unemployment data, there have been some mixed messages. While initial weekly jobless claims fell last week by 2,000, the total number of claims was still well above what economists were hoping for. The upward spike in jobless claims, to 386,000, stands in stark contrast to the 369,000 at the time of the March employment report.

The progress we seemed to make in March has been reversed thus far in April. It certainly doesn't bode well for those looking for job creation that this week, for the eleventh consecutive week, the level of jobless claims had to be revised upward.

[See a collection of political cartoons on the economy.]

Digging a bit deeper, we find that the real story is in the four week rolling average. Just three or four weeks ago, that number was in the 360,000 range. Now it's close to 375,000, roughly the same level as last spring's stagnant economic conditions.

It doesn't have to be this way. At the Job Creators Alliance, we have staked out policy positions that, taken together and properly pursued, would create a better climate for small business growth and job creation right here in America. We believe that there are things we can do this year that would turn the tide and put us back on the path to job creation.

There has been a lot of debate over how to jumpstart the economy and create more jobs—but it's important to keep in mind that while job creation has certainly been lagging here in the United States, it hasn't necessarily been the case in a more global context. Consider that, according to S&P Capital IQ, since 2007 the companies listed in the S&P500 have added 1.1 million jobs—but the majority of these are jobs located abroad. They have generated $1.4 trillion in profit, but again, most of those gains are with subsidiaries overseas.

We at Job Creators Alliance understand why these large companies have had to pursue investments overseas; they have a fiduciary duty to do what is right for their shareholders. Another factor is taxes and regulations are stacked against these companies domestically, forcing them beyond our borders.

[See a slide show of Mort Zuckerman's 5 Ways to Create More Jobs.]

If we truly want to focus on job creation in America, we have to create a better economic climate for small businesses in America—the source of the majority of new jobs. We need to reform our tax code, we need to take away the regulatory uncertainty small businesses face, and we need a rational fiscal policy in our government. The Job Creators Alliance's policy recommendations are a road map of how we can lead our nation back to sustainable, stable economic growth and prosperity for all.

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