‘Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said on Friday.
But no matter how the White House tries to spin it, August’s jobs data, in perspective with the preceding 43 months, were terrible.
Yes, unemployment came in at 8.1% — down from 8.3% the month before. But an improvement? Hardly. Unemployment has been above 8% for 43 straight months — a record.
The only reason the jobless rate fell in August was 368,000 people left the labor force, pushing labor force participation down to a 31-year low of 63.5%. Some 23 million people either don’t have jobs, are looking for full-time work or are underemployed.
And the numbers are even worse than they look.
As IBD points out on its front page on Sept. 7, 2012, if the labor force participation rate had remained constant during Obama’s years in office, unemployment today would be about 11.1%. Some “recovery.”
But what about the 96,000 new payroll jobs? That shows growth, right? Afraid not.
Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking last month, said the U.S. must create “150,000 to 200,000” jobs a month just to keep the unemployment rate stable. So 96,000 is really an awful number for a “recovery.”
The White House, during its convention, repeatedly claimed to have “created” 4.5 million jobs. Leaving aside the fact that businesses, not government, create jobs, it’s still factually incorrect.
According to Bureau of Labor Statistics data, payroll jobs in August totaled 133.3 million. The month Obama entered office, there were 133.561 million. So the number of jobs has shrunk.
What really rankles, though, is that Obama and leading Democrats such as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi contend the economy would be really humming if the GOP wasn’t standing in the way.
That’s not what those representing real job-creators believe. “Clearly the economic policies that have been implemented in Washington are failing,” said the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, commenting on August’s data.
The National Association of Manufacturers was even more specific: “The way to alleviate our economic pain is by enacting pro-growth tax policies, addressing the tough questions on entitlement programs that drive our national debt and putting an end to the regulatory morass that weighs down businesses across the country.”
None of which, of course, is proposed by Obama.
By the way, the Congressional Budget Office says that “under current law” — that is, budgets passed by a Democrat-dominated Congress and signed by Obama — unemployment will surge to 9.1% next year as the U.S. economy goes over the “fiscal cliff” and into recession.
The president says he needs more time to turn America around. Looks like time just ran out.
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This article was orginally published in the Investors Business Daily on Sept. 7, 2012.