Unemployment's slow drip: Top economists on the 2013 jobs record

Article Highlights

  • A falling unemployment rate is good if the unemployed are transitioning into employment. A falling unemployment rate is not good if the unemployed are losing hope and giving up their job search entirely

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For October's report, PBS Newshour spoke with the American Enterprise Institute's Michael Strain. As Congress debates the extension of unemployment benefits, Strain has been one of the conservatives voices urging them to renew benefits

Michael Strain: Unemployment in 2013 looks good on the surface. The unemployment rate fell by over a point last year, and will almost surely continue to fall in 2014. That indicator gets a great deal of attention, but going beneath the surface and digging deeper into the labor market statistics tells a different story. ...

A falling unemployment rate is good if the unemployed are transitioning into employment. A falling unemployment rate is not good if the unemployed are losing hope and giving up their job search entirely. Getting more people -- especially the long-term unemployed -- into jobs should be the major focus of federal economic policy in 2014. Of course, that was true for 2013, too.

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About the Author

 

Michael R.
Strain
  • Michael R. Strain is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, where he studies labor economics, public finance, and applied microeconomics. His research has been published in peer-reviewed academic journals and in the policy journals Tax Notes and National Affairs. Dr. Strain also writes frequently for popular audiences on topics including labor market policy, jobs, minimum wages, federal tax and budget policy, and the Affordable Care Act, among others.  His essays and op-eds have been published by National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Atlantic, Forbes, Bloomberg View, and a variety of other outlets. He is frequently interviewed by major media outlets, and speaks often on college campuses. Before joining AEI he worked on the research team of the Longitudinal Employer-Household Dynamics program and was the manager of the New York Census Research Data Center, both at the U.S. Census Bureau.  Dr. Strain began his career in the macroeconomics research group of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.  He is a graduate of Marquette University, and holds an M.A. from New York University and a Ph.D. from Cornell.


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    Email: michael.strain@aei.org
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    Name: Regan Kuchan
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