Heartland Institute Experts React to October Unemployment Rate

November 04, 2011

The U.S. Department of Labor reported the October unemployment rate at 9 percent, down from 9.1 percent the previous month. Some 80,000 jobs were added to the economy in October, and the Labor Department also revised upward the job growth in August and September.

The following statements from economics experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Tammy Nash at tnash@heartland.org and 312/377-4000. After regular business hours, contact Jim Lakely at jlakely@heartland.org and 312/731-9364.

“Since the Great Depression, recessions in America have lasted 10 months on average, with the longest previously being 16 months. But here we are 46 months since the last recession started and still no real recovery. That’s because Obama is doing the opposite of everything Reagan did. Adding 80,000 jobs is no recovery. Reagan’s recovery produced a million jobs in some months.”

Peter Ferrara
Senior Fellow for Entitlement and Budget Policy
The Heartland Institute

Mr. Ferrara is the author of America’s Ticking Bankruptcy Bomb (2011).

“One of the things that is getting ‘under reported’ is the drop in the participation rate. I have not seen the numbers, but I have heard it reported that the participation rate is the lowest since 1984. This is instructive in two ways.

“First, the job market is so weak that many workers are getting discouraged and deciding that looking for a job is so futile it is not worth their time. Second, since the unemployment rate is the number of people who do not have jobs and are looking for work, divided by the number of people who are looking for work and those who are employed (the discouraged workers are eliminated from both the numerator and the denominator) the unemployment rate can go down even though there is no real economic expansion.”

Dean Baim
Policy Advisor, Economics
The Heartland Institute
Professor of Finance and Economics
Pepperdine University

“It’s possible that the nation is slowly turning toward a recovery, although the many consumer price increases are ominous and the chance of a double-dip recession remains. Investor and consumer confidence may be starting a rebound, but not because of the president’s economic stimulus plans. Quite the contrary: The defeat of Obama’s spending and regulatory schemes by Senate Democrats and House Republicans alike in recent months is slowly convincing people that the federal government will not be implementing any disastrous ‘help’ in the next year or two. The weakening of the president’s agenda is allowing people to move out of disaster mode into a sense of very cautious optimism.”

S.T. Karnick
Director of Research
The Heartland Institute

“I think the small drop in the unemployment rate is meaningless. Even during the Great Depression there were times when the unemployment rate dropped. We need strong and sustained growth, and the Federal Reserve this week lowered its economic outlook for 2012. Maybe we’ll be lucky and the Federal Reserve’s forecasts for 2012 will be as bad as its earlier prognostications that failed to see the economic crisis coming.”

Steve Stanek
Research Fellow, Budget and Tax Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor
Budget & Tax News

The Heartland Institute is a 27-year-old national nonprofit organization with offices in Chicago, Illinois; Washington, DC; Austin, Texas; Tallahassee, Florida; and Columbus, Ohio. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.