Unemployment Remains on the Rise

“U.S. sheds fewest jobs in 6 months,” Reuters reported yesterday, but this optimistic headline is perhaps slightly misleading:

U.S. employers cut 539,000 jobs last month, the fewest since October, according to government data on Friday that signaled the economy’s steep decline might be easing and gave the stock market a boost.

The unemployment rate, however, soared to 8.9 percent, the highest since September 1983, from 8.5 percent in March, and job losses in March and February were a combined 66,000 steeper than previously estimated, the Labor Department said.

The best part?

A 72,000 jump in government payrolls tempered the overall job-loss figure.

539,000 may be slightly better than what we’ve been losing, but even that is an enormous figure. The unemployment rate is still on the rise, and although government officials are attempting to herald this slight decrease as the beginning of recovery, as Thomas Woods notes, they’ve been awfully wrong about the economy before:

In March 2007 then-Treasury secretary Henry Paulson told Americans that the global economy was “as strong as I’ve seen it in my business career.” “Our financial institutions are strong,” he added in March 2008. “Our investment banks are strong. Our banks are strong. They’re going to be strong for many, many years.” Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said in May 2007, “We do not expect significant spillovers from the subprime market to the rest of the economy or to the financial system.” In August 2008, Paulson and Bernanke assured the country that other than perhaps $25 billion in bailout money for Fannie and Freddie, the fundamentals of the economy were sound.

Then, all of a sudden, things were so bad that without a $700 billion congressional appropriation, the whole thing would collapse.

Read more on how the free market is not to blame for this depression here.

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