The latest report on new claims for unemployment insurance is discouraging. Though claims are down slightly from last week, they are still above the threshold where jobs are, on net, being created rather than lost. As Calculated Risk notes:
This is the eight straight week with initial claims above 400,000, and the 4-week average is at about the same the level as in January when there were fewer payroll jobs being added.
Jobs, jobs, jobs should be our first concern, but it isn't:
Back in early 2009 I thought that there was general agreement that it would be inappropriate to switch from concern about employment to concern about long-run fiscal deficits until the recovery was well-established or interest rates spiked.
How many times do I have to say that austerity in a depression makes the deficit worse, not better?
I would have also bet against policymakers turning their backs on the unemployed when the unemployment rate and other measures of labor market performance remain so dreary, and I would have lost. Even when policymakers were paying attention, they didn't do nearly enough to try to promote job creation.