For the Obama administration, today’s unemployment news is not good.
The jobless rate ticked up from 9 percent in April to 9.1 percent in May. The economy continued to add jobs, though at a much slower rate than we’d been averaging for the past four months. Overall, May saw 54,000 new jobs – 83,000 of them in the private sector. That gain was offset by layoffs in state and local government.
Some 13.9 million Americans are now unemployed, with 6.2 million Americans out of work for at least 27 weeks. The average job search got longer, going from 38.3 weeks to 39.7. What’s perhaps most frightening is that the numbers now look a lot like the numbers a year ago. This is a crisis, and it has gone from being a slow-moving one to a crisis that’s absolutely stuck.
For Republicans, today’s unemployment news is an opportunity. House Speaker John Boehner used the occasion of today’s report to urge the nation toward “the GOP plan #4jobs.” If you follow the links through, you get to the plan (pdf) Rachel described on the show as a “greeting-card length clip-art masterpiece.” Go ahead and read it – it won’t take long. The plan’s a full 10 pages, including the cover and clip art and the very large type and generous spacing.