The unemployment rate jumped to 10.2 percent in October -- the highest in 26 years -- up from 9.8 percent the month before. President Obama called the return to double-digit joblessness "sobering," even though the economy has started growing again, signaling an end to the recession. How much worse can the unemployment rate get? (watch an Associated Press report on unemployment topping 10 percent)
It's going to get worse: "It’s beginning to look like America’s unemployment rate is going to get worse before it gets better," says Laurent Belsie in The Christian Science Monitor. That will increase pressure on President Obama and Congress to create more jobs. But economists aren't so worried -- the unemployment rate is volatile, but steadier employment data suggests "the 22-month rise in unemployment is slowing appreciably."
"After dismal jobs report, unemployment rate could hit postwar high"
Obama is making things worse: President Obama promised the massive economic stimulus package would keep the unemployment rate from exceeding 8.25 percent, says Desmond Lachman in Forbes. The "sad reality" is that we're now worse off than Obama said we'd be without his stimulus, and economists say unemployment probably won't peak until next spring. Let's hope the administration "smells the coffee" and finds a better economic policy before it drives us into a "double-dip" recession.
All we need is a better stimulus: Job-creation efforts aren't the most efficient way to fight unemployment, says Paul Krugman in The New York Times. "Tax cuts and transfers in the hope that people will spend them; aid to state governments in the hope of averting layoffs. Even infrastructure spending is routed through private contractors." Maybe it's time to for the federal government to consider a WPA-type program and hire people directly. Cut out the middlemen and we might put more people to work.
"Why not a WPA?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- Bush vs. Clinton in 2016 is the perfect way to make millennials hate politics even more
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The latent sexism of the male marriage proposal
- After Ferguson: Stop deferring to the cops
- This judge is the reason we're still fighting over net neutrality
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Is it now OK to have sex with animals?
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- The hilarious hypocrisy of Republicans complaining about the imperial presidency
Subscribe to the Week