William Katz:  Urgent Agenda

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JOBLESS CLAIMS DROP AGAIN – AT 8:48 A.M. ET:  Claims for unemployment benefits dropped again last week, to their lowest level in four years.   That's good news, possibly, for the White House.  From Bloomberg:

Applications for unemployment benefits dropped last week to the lowest level in four years, reinforcing signs the U.S. labor market is picking up.

Jobless claims decreased by 5,000 to 348,000 in the week ended March 17, the fewest since February 2008, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 46 economists in a Bloomberg News survey projected 350,000. The number of people on unemployment benefit rolls and those getting extended payments also fell.

COMMENT:  I hate to bust anyone's balloon, but the reporting by the mainstream media is a bit optimistic.  First, these numbers aren't all that great.  Indeed, the claims figures have dropped only a tiny bit in the last month.  Also, we have to examine the figures more closely.  How many people have dropped out of the labor force or exhausted their benefits, and cannot therefore apply?

Also, the price of gasoline continues to rise, and with it the fear of an economic slowdown and possible inflation.  Unless the gas price declines, Obama can hardly claim a great economy.  People are hurting at the pump, and feeling it every day.

We have a long way to go, and we're not getting there fast enough.

March 22, 2012