All things considered, the view is of an economy that continues to recover, adding private employment and utilising (and paying) existing workers more. But that recovery is facing stiff headwinds from two sourcesthe drawdown in government activity associated with the end of stimulus and continued cuts at the state and local level, and the burden of large pool of marginally attached workers and long-term unemployed. The economy will probably manage to weather this period and continue its moderate expansion. But for the moment, the situation does look uncomfortably unclear.
The long-term unemployment number worries me greatly. I had a conversation with a friend the other day who was pushing back on my support for 99+ weeks of unemployment benefits; at some point, he said, these people have to get jobs, and helping them grow the gap on their resume is not a good long-term strategy. I'm not convinced that many of these people could find jobs--some people are undoubtedly coasting, but really, how far can you coast on $300 a week?