If you were an alien who flew in from Venus this week to catch the Democratic Convention, you would think we were in the middle of a jobs boom. Speaker after speaker talked about what a wonderful job Barack Obama has done creating jobs. Of course, not only is the reality quite different, it’s getting even worse.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics delivered yet another disappointing jobs report, this time the morning after Barack Obama’s speech claiming to be taking the nation in the right direction. Only 96,000 jobs were added to the economy, and while the jobless rate edged downward to 8.1%, that came from even more people leaving the workforce:
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 96,000 in August, and the unemployment rate edged down to 8.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in food services and drinking places, in professional and technical services, and in health care.
The unemployment rate edged down in August to 8.1 percent. Since the beginning of this year, the rate has held in a narrow range of 8.1 to 8.3 percent. The number of unemployed persons, at 12.5 million, was little changed in August. …
Both the civilian labor force (154.6 million) and the labor force participation rate (63.5 percent) declined in August. The employment-population ratio, at 58.3 percent, was little changed.
That’s a new 30-year low in the civilian participation rate, lower than April’s 63.6%. That’s the reason for the decline in the jobless rate. The workforce decline artificially depresses the official unemployment rate. If we had the same level of civilian participation as we did at the beginning of the recovery in June 2009 (65.7%), we’d be looking at a jobless rate of well over 10%. The employment-population ratio dropped to 58.3% in August, not as low as last year’s 58.2%, but still bouncing along a generational bottom. That measure was 59.4% at the beginning of the recovery. Update: The workforce shrank by 368,000.
We’ve passed the 3 1/2 year mark with unemployment over 8% and things are actually getting worse. There’s absolutely nothing in these numbers that makes you say, “Things are starting to look up,” or “Wow, we’re about to turn a corner.” That’s even more significant given that Barack Obama didn’t even bother to present a plan to create more jobs in his second term. All we’ve gotten from Barack Obama since he became President is a consistent record of failure – and, yes, he has had time to turn things around. The situation Obama faced wasn’t great, but it was no worse than the one faced at the beginning of his term by another President you may just remember….