Washington Post, Times notes plunge in long-term unemployment

July 7, 2014

"The nation has not seen such hefty job gains since the late-1990s tech hiring boom," writes Patrice Hill in a July 3 article in the Washington Times, "Unemployment falls to 6.1 percent amid U.S. hiring surge." Hill cites the most recent Labor Department report that the United States added 288,000 new jobs in June.

Hill's article quotes Justin Wolfers on the report's standout announcement that the number of long-term unemployed in the country has dramatically decreased. "The really big news: Long-term unemployment keeps on falling," writes Wolfers. "Down 1.244m (or 29%) this year. Down 293k this month."

Citing the same data and also quoting Wolfers, Philip Bump at the Washington Post's politics blog The Fix writes that the report could hamstring the efforts of Senators Jack Reed and Dean Heller to extend insurance benefits for the long-term unemployed, and may deepen the debate over whether unemployment insurance is part of the problem or part of the solution.

Regardless of its political consequences, the report is unambiguous Wolfers argues. "There is simply no bad news in this jobs report," he writes. "Go on, dig into the detail, and see if you can find it. I dare you."

Justin Wolfers is a professor of public policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy and also holds appointments in the School of Literature, Science and the Arts. He is a research associate with the National Bureau for Economic Research, a research affiliate with the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London, and an international research fellow at the Kiel Institute for the World Economy in Germany.