Not yet.  The Labor Department announced that “first time” jobless claims fell by 14,000 to 442,000, which is below the 450,000 that they expected.  You always have to read the story behind the story though…excluding the results of “seasonal adjustments,” the real drop was only 4,000.  Look, at this point we’ll take anything we can get.  Every sentient human being knows that the secret to an economic recovery is not health insurance reform, it is job creation.  And, as the following chart illustrates, that is at least trending the right direction:

Now this number does not take into account the number of folks that that have given up or are underemployed…if it did, the number would be, well, it’s called the U-6 number over at Labor.  The cushy 9.7% unemployed number is “U-3.”  Here’s what U-6 looks like:

Now it’s trending a little bit the right direction too, but be aware that it is over 16%.  The seriousness of the problem is illustrated with the following chart:

That 6% drop from the previous peak is unmatched in prior recessions and represents a lot of new jobs that need to be created to get us back on track.  Bottom line is this: the job situation appears to be flattening out at the bottom, but there are still over 11 million people receiving unemployment benefits and although the pace has slowed, we are still shedding jobs and digging a deeper hole to climb out of.

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