As the economy generates more jobs, giving hope to previously “discouraged” workers, the jobless rate could actually spike instead of declining, the Washington Post reports. Still, what's happening in the economy is good, the White House says, laying the groundwork for the likelihood that job creation will lag behind a renewed interest among the jobless. In March, 162,000 new jobs were created—but 200,000 more people were looking for them, leaving the unemployment rate at 9.7%.
“Sometimes it's frustrating and the progress doesn't show up immediately in the unemployment rate,” says White House economic adviser Lawrence Summers, “but it's progress nonetheless in giving jobs to people who need them.” The current number of job seekers per job is 5.4, down from 6.2 in November but well above the 2.8 late in 2003, during the last recession. Almost half of the unemployed in America have been out of work for 27 weeks or longer, the Post notes.