Jobless Numbers Don’t Tell Whole Story

“The truth is incontrovertible.  Malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is.”  ~ Winston Churchill

By Alden L. Benton

President Obama is laying claim to the latest unemployment figures as proof that his economic policies are working.  Indeed, if you look at the numbers reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one could come to that conclusion.  After all, national unemployment numbers are now at 8.1 per cent down from a high of around 10 per cent in 2009.

These numbers don’t tell the whole story and using them as the sole basis for determining economic health and the efficacy of the president’s policies is flawed and superficial reasoning.

A Fox News report asks whether the decline in unemployment is the result of thousands of Americans going back to work or the result of a shrinking workforce.

“If the percentage of adult Americans in the labor force — that being the total number of people who are employed or looking for work — were the same as it was during the end of the Bush administration, the April jobless rate would be at 11.1 percent….  Reach all the way back to the employment picture for when Bush took office, and the rate would be more like 13.1 percent,” according to the report.

The “…statistic known as the ‘labor force participation rate’ is key.  That’s the percentage of the adult population that is employed or looking for work — in other words, the labor force.  The lower the number, the worse the employment situation,” the Fox News story explains.

The labor force is shrinking and has been for the last 10 years.  According to the Fox News report, the Labor Force Participation Rate (LFPR) was 67.3 per cent when President George W. Bush took office in 2001.  When Obama took office in 2009, the LFPR had declined to 65.5 per cent. 

However, the LFPR numbers have declined sharply during Obama’s presidency, dropping to 58.4 per cent, according to figures released last month by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 

The president cannot explain that away or dismiss this free-fall as the fault of President Bush. The sharp decline is the sole responsibility of President Obama’s economic policy and strategies.

“The reason you’re seeing the unemployment rate go down is because you have more people dropping out of the workforce than you have getting jobs,” GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney said Friday on Fox News, after the April numbers were released.

In a Town Hall Finance article, John Ransom says the president has more than jobless numbers to worry about. 

Ransom says,

“While economists agonize about unemployment, jobs created, money supply, stimulus, and the budget deficit, they often ignore one number that will in all likelihood matter most to voters in November.” 

Those numbers are consumer confidence numbers and have, according to Ransom, been slipping.  According to the Bloomberg Comfort Index (BCI), the number of people who rated their personal finances negatively increased from 47 per cent three weeks ago to 56 per cent.  The BCI now stands at -40.6, according to Ransom’s article.

Bloomberg says that the “measures for registered Democrats and independents have dropped the most over the past two weeks after both reached the highest levels in more than four years.”

Translation: After buying from the White House more of the same Hopey-slash-Changey rhetoric that “the recovery has finally started,” even supporters are recognizing that on economics, this White House hasn’t a clue.

Obama and his cadre of crooks, cronies, and communists have taken a vibrant economy suffering a cyclical slump and turned it into an ailing, failing behemoth mired in debt and excess regulation.  The worst is yet to come unless we change direction. 

The “smart guys” in the Obama administration have no clue.  If the U.S. economy fails, the entire globe will descend into an extended depression.

It’s time to clean house at the White House. 

Follow me on Twitter @Alden Benton or on Facebook

© 2012 Alden L. Benton/Independence Creek Enterprises
All Rights Reserved


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