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Don't Get Too Excited

Between yesterday's two lead stories - the killing of Pakistan's Taliban leader and the report showing decreased unemployment in July - it was a great day for the administration. But Ackerman dials down the former:

[I]nsurgent groups tend to organize themselves precisely for survivability in the event of decapitation. In Iraq, the U.S. killed and detained a lot of al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders, including Abu Musab al-Zarqawi himself, but only when the Sunni Iraqi population decisively turned against AQI did the terrorist network find itself, for all strategic purposes, defeated. I'm not saying that what happened in Iraq is guaranteed to repeat itself in Pakistan. But the New York Times reports that already Mehsud's deputies are meeting to see who replaces him and where the movement goes next. This is an opportunity that the Pakistani military and its government can seize or can miss. And like Abu Muqawama, my sense is that the Pakistanis are primed to miss it.

And Daniel Indiviglio dials down the latter:

As a recession drags on for this long, and people are unable to find jobs, they begin leaving the workforce. They become discouraged regarding job prospects. BLS offers an unemployment rate that includes these discouraged workers. In June 2009, that was 10.1%. For July, it was 10.2%. Given this change in unemployment including discouraged workers, I think it's pretty clear that the 0.1% decrease in the reported unemployment rate can be misleading. In reality, those who would like a job but don't have one increased by 0.1% up to 10.2%.