William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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MORE ECONOMIC HURT – AT 9:20 A.M. ET: 

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- For the tenth week in a row, an uncomfortably high number of Americans filed for their first week of unemployment benefits.

There were 414,000 initial claims for unemployment benefits filed last week, the Labor Department said Thursday.

While that was down 16,000 from a revised 430,000 initial claims filed the week before, it was still at a level economists often say is too high to bring down the unemployment rate.

Initial claims are used as a gauge of the job market, and when they're above 400,000, economists often interpret it as a sign of weakness. Initial claims have stayed above that level since early April.

Meanwhile, the four-week moving average of initial claims, calculated to smooth out volatility, totaled 424,750, the same as the week before.

COMMENT:  Another dose of reality.  The great fear is that we are in for long-term systemic unemployment, which has happened in European countries.  The administration appears to have no new economic ideas.

June 16, 2011