Unemployment's slow drip: Top economists on the 2013 jobs record

Article Highlights

  • A falling unemployment rate is good if the unemployed are transitioning into employment. A falling unemployment rate is not good if the unemployed are losing hope and giving up their job search entirely

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For October's report, PBS Newshour spoke with the American Enterprise Institute's Michael Strain. As Congress debates the extension of unemployment benefits, Strain has been one of the conservatives voices urging them to renew benefits

Michael Strain: Unemployment in 2013 looks good on the surface. The unemployment rate fell by over a point last year, and will almost surely continue to fall in 2014. That indicator gets a great deal of attention, but going beneath the surface and digging deeper into the labor market statistics tells a different story. ...

A falling unemployment rate is good if the unemployed are transitioning into employment. A falling unemployment rate is not good if the unemployed are losing hope and giving up their job search entirely. Getting more people -- especially the long-term unemployed -- into jobs should be the major focus of federal economic policy in 2014. Of course, that was true for 2013, too.

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Michael R.
Strain

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