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Spinning Unemployment

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The current President has changed his tune. He is not longer Tokyo Rose, threatening us with an economic catastrophe. Now, although it may get worse, Obama is confident that the US economy will recover. It’s almost like he took a trip on the Negative Railroad and noticed 140 million Americans still hard at work.

From what I’ve seen, Big Media has followed Barry’s lead. They’re now more apt to look past the still-rising unemployment rate and the 663,000 jobs lost in March. The figures are in scale with January and February, but apparently now it isn’t the end of the world.

Such a change would be refreshing if it was so transparently propaganda. The President and the media wing of the Democrat party are taking both sides of the issue, and showing no evidence of deep thought or critical analysis.

Unemployment is a lagging indicator. Firms try to retain workers through slack periods because it takes non-productive time and non-productive money to hire and train new workers. Layoffs happen when sales have been persistently bad and the managment sees little chance of improvement.

I haven’t yet found a handy reference for the length of the layoff lag. It varies among sectors and with other economic conditions. I’ll imagine it being three months. Management will postpone letting trained workers go for about a quarter.

Then, the January–March job losses reflect conditions in the October–December economic climate. Election season. Remember the gloom of both major candidates? The first round of “emergency” bailouts? That’s the stuff that led to the job loss figures since Barry has become Chairman of the US Economy.

So, it isn’t his fault? Not entirely. He gave no cause for optimism. His promised change was explicitly anti-profit and anti-business. Managers had no reason to expect that they would need workers once Obama got into office. Thus, layoffs abound.

And given two months of Tokyo Rose’s doomsaying, look for continued large job losses through May. The silly porkulus bill offered almost nothing of immediate impact while increasing uncertainty about taxes and regulations. That uncertainty was amplified by the wobbly pronouncements of the Treasury Secretary.

I agree with President Klink. It will get worse. We’ll fall below 140 million employed. (Which, still, really is pretty good by global and historic averages) What I’m not sure about is how the facts will be reported.