Editor’s Note – Lies, damned lies, and …statistics – Once again, we utter a collective sigh here at SUA, and do the classic “facepalm”. TRUST, how can we trust anything from this administration?
by Donald Lambro, Human Events
One unassailable fact continues to give Barack Obama and his top campaign strategists political nightmares. No president has won re- election since the Great Depression when the unemployment rate was more than 8 percent.
Despite all of the data-twisting hoopla from the White House and their compliant allies in the news media, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ unemployment rate remains at 8.3 percent, which is nothing to write home about.
But, dig a little deeper among the unemployed, and you will find that the real-honest-to-God national jobless rate is much higher than that because it includes numbers BLS leaves out of its employment equation.
More ominous for Obama and his bid to be a two-term president is that most economic forecasters do not see the jobless rate falling below 8 percent by November.
The economy appears to be slowing down and with it, new job creation, economists say.
“Going forward, unemployment is not likely to fall much further and could rise again,” says University of Maryland’s Business School economist Peter Morici, who has been severely critical of the president’s sorry jobs record.
“Fourth-quarter growth was stronger as the global economy recovered from first-half disruptions such as the earthquake in Japan, but going forward, economists expect growth to slow to about 2 percent,” Morici said.
The unemployment elephant in the labor statistics room has been discouraged workers who have given up looking for a job and dropped out of the workforce and those who are forced to take temp jobs or are working fewer hours.
It didn’t make the nightly newscasts or most newspaper reports, but BLS reported in January that “working age adults not participating in the labor force–those neither employed nor looking for work — increased by 88,000.”
This highlights the big under-reported story in Obama’s persistently lackluster jobs record: the rapidly declining labor force participation rate.
“In the latest, much celebrated, unemployment report, the labor force participation rate had plummeted to 63.7 percent, the most rapid decline in U.S. history,” writes economist Peter Ferrara.
“That means that under President Obama nearly 5 million Americans have fled the workforce in hopeless despair,” Ferrara adds.
The nightly network news ballyhooed the 243,000 new jobs that were created in January, but what they did not report was that 1.2 million discouraged workers had simply dropped out of the workforce, Ferrara reported.
But they were not counted among the unemployed because they had ceased looking for a job and that sent the unemployment rate down.
Pretty clever, huh?
“They may desperately need and want jobs. They may be in poverty, as many undoubtedly are, with America suffering today more people in poverty than in the entire half century,” says Ferrara. “But they are not counted in that 8.3 percent unemployment rate that Obama and his media cheerleaders were so tirelessly celebrating last week.”
Add these discouraged dropouts and Obama’s shameful unemployment rate climbs to 11 percent.
But there are more shenanigans in the BLS’s statistical gymnastics. Another 2.8 million, BLS said, “wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months,” but they weren’t counted as unemployed because they said they had not looked for a job in the previous four weeks.
All of these workers, discouraged drop-outs and the so-called “underemployed” forced to work part-time or temp jobs, pushes the real jobless unemployment rate to 15.1 percent.
As for BLS’s average 8.3 percent unemployment rate, it is worth noting that millions of Americans do not live in the average column. Sixteen states, including the most populated, had jobless rates that fell between 12.3 percent and 8 percent in February.
Obama insists we’re moving in the right direction, even though unemployment rates remain very high by historical standards.
Economists say the unemployment figures are still dreadful.
“The unemployment rate today, 10 quarters after the end of the recession, is still a full two percentage points higher than it was during the peak of the last recession in 2003,” Heritage Foundation economist J.D. Foster told Human Events.
In the fourth year of Ronald Reagan’s presidency, after a deep recession, unemployment was 7.5 percent. It was a tame 5.8 percent in 2008, the last year of George W. Bush’s presidency. Can Obama do any better? So far he hasn’t.
Even Obama’s supporters in the news media think he has failed miserably on the economic front, especially on jobs.
Liberal New York Times economics columnist Paul Krugman says, “things are not O.K. — not remotely O.K. This is still a terrible economy.”
Mr. Lambro is a nationally syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for the Washington Times.