The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

The number of Americans applying for unemployment rose slightly this week, but the four-week average — a more accurate indicator of the job market — is now at 335,000 a week. The four-week average has not been this low since November of 2007, before the worst of the financial crisis began.

fredgraph4weekaverage

Unemployment claims increased by 5,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 333,000. That’s far below 400,000, the number that generally suggests the economy is shedding jobs.

Though the 162,000 jobs the Labor Department estimated were created in July were the lowest in several months, the economy has added jobs at its fastest pace since 1999, as the president continually points out in his speeches touting “A Better Bargain.” An average of 1.5 million jobs lost per month is lower than the 1.77 million per month lost in 2006, before the economy was in recession.

Layoffs are down 10 percent since the beginning of the year despite the tax increases that kicked in on January 1st and the sequestration that began on March 1st. The mandatory cuts in the sequestration are expected to lead to a loss of 1.6 million jobs by the end of 2014.

The economy’s slow but steady recovery will face its most serious challenge late this year. Republicans are not only threatening a government shutdown if the president does not meet their demands, which include defunding Obamacare, but also seem to be edging toward a repeat of the debt limit crisis of 2011, which led to a sharp decline in consumer confidence that shook the stock markets, likely resulting in slower job growth.

Even if Republicans decide not to play chicken with the economy, the fact that corporate profits have never been higher and wages as a share of gross domestic product have never been lower suggests there are major problems with government policy that need to be addressed.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Dr. Mehmet Oz and Sean Hannity

Youtube Screenshot

Fox News prime-time host Sean Hannity is priming his audience to see election fraud in any defeat for Dr. Mehmet Oz, his favored candidate who currently leads the GOP primary for U.S. Senate in Pennsylvania with two percent of votes outstanding. If the fast-closing hedge funder Dave McCormick takes the lead and the Oz camp claims the election has been stolen, it could set up a potentially explosive proxy war with Hannity’s colleague Laura Ingraham, whose Fox program favors McCormick and has suggested he is likely to prevail when all the votes are counted.

The GOP primary was a chaotic slugfest that split Fox’s slate of pro-GOP hosts in an unusually public way. Hannity was Oz’s most prominent supporter, reportedly securing the support of former President Donald Trump and using his program to endorse the TV personality, give him a regular platform, and target the challenge from right-wing commentator and Fox & Friends regular Kathy Barnette. Ingraham, meanwhile, used her Fox program (which airs in the hour following Hannity’s) to promote McCormick, criticize Oz, and defend Barnette.

Keep reading... Show less
Youtube Screenshot

Overturning Roe v. Wade is very unpopular, yet another poll confirms. Nearly two out of three people, or 64 percent, told the NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist poll that Roe should not be overturned, including 62 percent of independents. The poll also includes some good news for Democrats.

According to the poll, the prospect of the Supreme Court striking down Roe in the most extreme way is motivating Democratic voters more than Republicans: Sixty-six percent of Democrats say it makes them more likely to vote in November compared with 40 percent of Republicans. That echoes a recent NBC poll finding a larger rise in enthusiasm about voting among Democrats than Republicans.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}