When It Comes to the Jobless Numbers, President Obama Isn’t Talking Straight

When It Comes to the Jobless Numbers, President Obama Isn’t Talking Straight
August 9, 2012

Peter Ferrara

Peter Ferrara is senior fellow for entitlement and budget policy at The Heartland Institute, a... (read full bio)

“This morning we learned that our businesses created 172,000 new jobs in the month of July,” President Obama bragged regarding last Friday’s jobs report. “That means we’ve now created 4.5 million over the last 29 months and 1.1 million new jobs this year.”

You should have learned by now on your own that you can’t believe a word the man says.  If it is not outright false, it is cast out of context to deliberately mislead.  Obama’s statement is like a pediatrician who brags to you that under his care your 16 year old son has grown to 4 feet, 5 inches.  At the same point during the Reagan recovery, the economy had created more than 9.5 million new jobs.

Moreover, in just one month during the Reagan economic recovery boom, September, 1983, the economy created 1.1 million new jobs.  That’s a real recovery.

But Obama’s statement is even more misleading.  Because during his entire Administration, the economy has created less than zero jobs.  Investors Business Daily replied on August 4 to Obama’s statement, “But ‘we’ haven’t created any jobs.  As a matter of fact, since Obama has entered office, some 1.1 million payroll jobs have disappeared.”  Former Bush Chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors Edward Lazear added in the Wall Street Journal on July 30, “there hasn’t been one day during the entire Obama Presidency when as many Americans were working as on the day President Bush left office.”

Moreover, “since Obama stepped into office, 7.5 million people have left the workforce,” IBD added.  Almost all of those folks are still out there without a job.

Obama also neglected to add that the Labor Department’s household survey, which determines the unemployment rate, found that the number of jobs plummeted last month by 195,000.  That is why the U3 unemployment rate rose again, to 8.3%. It was the establishment survey of businesses that claimed the economy created 163,000, not 172,000, net new jobs last month.  But that number is heavily influenced by seasonal adjustments that can be outdated, and by estimates not counts of jobs created by new businesses.  It is inconsistent with the fact the Labor Dept. also reported on Friday that 150,000 left the workforce last month.

That makes a postwar record 42 months of unemployment over 8%, the longest period of unemployment that high since the Great Depression.  While Obama promised us when he wanted to pass his nearly $1 trillion wasteful government spending stimulus that unemployment would never climb above 8% if we did, it has never fallen below 8% during his entire, mistaken Presidency.

Moreover, the U3 unemployment rate doesn’t count the millions who have fled the work force under the oppression of Obamanomics.  If labor force participation had just remained the same as when Obama entered office, unemployment would be still stuck for months now at 11%, which would be a postwar record, the highest since the Great Depression.

U.S. News and World Report Chairman Mort Zuckerman elaborated in the Wall Street Journal on July 24, that if you add “the number of discouraged workers who have dropped out of the labor market since the recession began in early 2008 – approximately eight million – the [unemployment] rate would be an alarming 12%.  Fifty percent of the jobs created since the recession hit have been part time, with no benefits and a wage that’s inadequate to enter the middle class.”  Discouraged workers who have left the work force, and those working part time only because they can’t find a full time job, are counted in the Labor Dept’s U6 unemployment rate, which rose last month to a depression level 15%.  If you count the long term discouraged workers that the government stopped counting in 1994, the Shadow Government Statistics website reports that unemployment would be at the deep depression level of 22.9%.

The recession was scored by the National Bureau of Economic Research as ending in June, 2009, more than three years ago, because that is when GDP stopped declining and started growing again.  That still made it the longest recession since the Great Depression at 18 months.  As JeffreyAnderson observed in IBD on August 6, “it’s not convincing for Obama to suggest – as he routinely does – that he should be evaluated on the basis of whether the recovery has been better than the recession.  Recoveries, by definition, are better than recessions.”

Peter Ferrara

Peter Ferrara is senior fellow for entitlement and budget policy at The Heartland Institute, a... (read full bio)