Friday, December 12, 2008

I love the ’80s

Remember the end of October? The air was crisp, the landscape awash in the colors of autumn, and only 3.84 million Americans were collecting unemployment benefits.

It was 1983 all over again. The Gipper. Morning in America.

Sure, some Negative Nellys focused on the fact that the 3.84 million people on unemployment in October was the largest number in 25 years, and that nearly half a million new claims for unemployment benefits were filed on the heels of those 3.84 million existing claims. But we liked 1983 well enough to re-elect Ronnie by a landslide just one year later.

So revisiting the conditions of 1982 should be even better. Right?

New claims for unemployment benefits reached their highest level in 26 years last week, as companies cut workers at a rapid pace.

The Labor Department said Thursday that initial applications for jobless benefits in the week ended Dec. 6 rose to a seasonally adjusted 573,000 from an upwardly revised figure of 515,000 the previous week. That was far more than the 525,000 claims economists expected.

It is also the most since November 1982, although the labor force has grown by about half since then.

[...]

The number of people continuing to claim jobless benefits also jumped much more than expected, increasing 338,000 to 4.4 million. Economists expected a small increase to 4.1 million. The figure for continuing claims lags the initial claims figure by one week.
More than half a million people added to unemployment rolls in six weeks. Given the speed at which the economy is shedding jobs, does anyone doubt that, by the time Bush finally Just Goes Away, more than 5 million people will be collecting unemployment benefits?

It's downright depressing to compare the wretched mess that Bush is leaving in his foul wake to the economy he inherited from Bill Clinton.

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