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A Broken Promise Is Better Than a Broken Economy

February 15, 2012

President Obama pledged to cut the deficit in half in his first term. It’s a good thing he didn’t keep that promise or we’d be looking at a much weaker economy.

Faced with a tanking economy and a surging budget deficit upon taking...

What Happens if Congress Doesn’t Continue Emergency Unemployment Benefits?

February 14, 2012

The emergency federal unemployment insurance (UI) program is set to expire at the end of the month.  If Congress fails to extend it:

  • The number of weeks of available benefits for unemployed workers will shrink dramatically, to fewer than 26 weeks in some states (see the maps below).

  • Nearly 4.5 million jobless workers
  • ...

Safety Net Spending Is Supposed to Rise in a Weak Economy

February 9, 2012

In my blog post this week for US News & World Report, I highlight CBPP’s recent analyses of safety net programs and...

Today's Job's Report in Pictures

February 3, 2012

Today's jobs report is encouraging, but we should judge it against the overall sluggishness of the economic recovery and a persistently large jobs deficit that remains after 23 straight months of private sector job creation. Payroll employment is still...

Economy Struggling to Be All That It Can Be

February 2, 2012

In my blog post this week for US News & World Report, I look at the disturbingly slow economic recovery:

The economy has been moving in the right direction for two...

Economy Growing—But Much Too Slowly

January 27, 2012

Today’s initial Commerce Department estimate of economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2011 looks good at first:  the economy expanded at an annual rate of 2.8 percent, up from 1.8 percent in the third quarter.  That’s the tenth straight quarter of growth.  But a closer look at the numbers shows much that...

At Least We Have the Fed

January 26, 2012

The Federal Reserve signaled this week that it still has the weak economy on its radar screen and sees no imminent threat of inflation.  That’s welcome news, because an accommodative, low-interest-rate monetary policy is the only game in town right now for nurturing the struggling economic recovery.

As I...

Today’s Jobs Report In Pictures

January 6, 2012

Today’s employment report shows glimmers of hope for the job market, most notably the addition of 200,000 payroll jobs in December. Yet a strong jobs recovery remains elusive. The overall jobs deficit remains large, the labor force shrank for the second straight month and the proportion of people aged 16 and over who have a job continues to be depressed. Jobs are still hard to find,...

Taking Stock of the Safety Net, Part 5: Helping Families Stay Afloat During Unemployment Spells

December 20, 2011

Unemployment Insurance (UI) replaces up to half of the income that workers lose when they become unemployed through no fault of their own.  That lessens the financial strain on their families while these workers look for new jobs.  In a weak economy like the current one, UI also helps sustain consumer demand, keeping a...

It’s the Great Recession, Not the Great Vacation, That’s Responsible for High Unemployment

December 15, 2011

Two competing narratives frame the debate about why unemployment remains so high even though the economy has been growing for more than two years.

The mainstream “Great Recession” narrative holds that the economy fell into a deep hole in 2008 and has been climbing out of it so...