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The Circle Bastiat

The 'Great Unemployment Mystery' continues

Typical discussions about unemployment treat it like a mystery, but its causes are actually straightforward

By Jeffrey TuckerGuest blogger / June 2, 2011

In this May 25, 2011 photo, Glynis Davies, left, from Hartman Personal Services, talks with job seekers Christine Marciante and Maxine Janke, right, at the Jobapalooza job fair at Lake Erie College, in Painesville, Ohio. Fewer people sought unemployment benefits last week, though applications remain stuck at high levels that signal weak job growth.

Tony Dejak / AP

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The ADP report on unemployment looks terrible: private sector hiring mostly stagnant overall. Here is the detailed report that paints many pretty pictures of what a double dip looks like.

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Media reports will again speak of unemployment as if it were some kind of ghostly vapor that mysteriously sinks upon an economy, the same way that people used to think about the plague and then seek to cure it with spells, canon blasts, or bleeding. Unemployment at this stage in the cycle has clear roots in the hampering of free enterprise: regulatory burdens on business, antitrust interventions, mandated benefits, the push to mandate health care coverage, high taxes, labor market interventions like minimum wages and child-labor laws, unstable investment environment, as well as overall regime uncertainty. See Out of Work.

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