Unemployment Increase Is More Evidence of a Jobless Recovery

Unemployment is still rising despite signs that the economy is improving.

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By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

I've written in earlier posts about the prospect of a jobless recovery. Today we see the unfortunate results of that accurate prediction made by many economists and bloggers, which few of us want to see blossom into reality. A government report released today reveals 263,000 jobs were lost last month while the president and Democratic politicians have been promising recovery and spending like gamblers at a poker chip sales booth. Say it ain't so, Barack.

Reaction to today's numbers was not good. Forbes.com posted as follows:

The talk of recession ending is confounded by one simple fact: The job market is not recovering. In September, the 22nd month since the recession began, an additional 263,000 jobs were lost, bringing the total number of unemployed to 15.1 million. The losses were worse than August, when 201,000 jobs were lost, but better than July's 304,000. The unemployment rate rose to 9.8 percent from 9.7 percent.

Yes, the rate of contraction is easing, but as Bloomberg.com reports we're still shrinking, not growing:

A report from the Commerce Department showed the worst U.S. recession since the 1930s eased more than anticipated in the second quarter. The world's largest economy shrank at a 0.7 percent annual rate from April through June, the best performance in more than a year, according to revised figures. Gross domestic product contracted at a 6.4 percent pace in the first three months of 2009.

I'm keeping my eye on oil prices. Right now they're hovering just below $70 per barrel. But even if we do start adding jobs and pull out of contraction mode, spiraling oil prices could push us straight back into contraction mode. Even $70 per barrel is too high right now. And if we don't get speculators out of the oil market, oil prices will continue to hobble the global economy.