January 14, 2010

MAYBE THEY SHOULD ADJUST EXPECTATIONS? New jobless claims rise more than expected. ‘Cause we seem to see this headline almost every week. . . .

Plus this: “The increasing number of people claiming extended unemployment insurance indicates that even as layoffs are declining, hiring hasn’t picked up. That leaves people out of work for longer and longer periods of time.”

UPDATE: A longtime reader emails:

Glenn, in the unlikely event you publish this email, I’d ask you not use my name. As a partner in a midsize firm (annual gross about $50,000,000) I can give you our perspective on hiring: we’re not doing it. And we’ve always been in hiring mode in the past. We’re not struggling, but we simply are not willing to take on the risk of hiring people in this environment. Just look around: small businesses are still closing. How many “For Lease” signs do you see right now in front of empty commercial properties that used to house small and mid-size businesses? With taxes and interest rates expected to rise later this year or next, thus sucking even more cash out of the economy, and consumers still cutting personal spending, most businesses would be idiotic to go on the type of hiring sprees that would be necessary in order to create robust job growth. Instead, many businesses are still looking everywhere they can to slash expenses. Unfortunately, that includes payrolls.

I doubt anybody in the Obama Administration gets this. They’d have to take a break from their obsession with health care reform, and you know, actually talk to people who run businesses to understand what’s going on. But except for hobnobbing at fund raisers with the occasional fund manager or Fortune 500 CEO who’s so rich he can afford to be a liberal Democrat regardless of what happens, they don’t do that.

This seems right.

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