By Alden L. Benton
The president failed miserably in his first debate performance last week. Gallup released new polling data today (October 8, 2012) showing, according to Fox News, that “…registered voters overwhelmingly considered Romney the winner of the debate in Denver. Seventy-two percent gave Romney the win, while 20 percent said Obama did the better job.”
Two days after the presidential debate, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its September unemployment numbers. The number showed a slight improvement, declining from 8.1 per cent in August to 7.8 per cent in September.
The recent unemployment numbers appear better as the September figures represent the first time unemployment has dropped below eight per cent since the president took office. The “improvement” in the unemployment rate after Obama’s dismal debate performance, brought charges of manipulation from many on the right.
However, the data are not flawed. It is the premise behind the data that is flawed. In fact, the way the government measures and reports unemployment has been flawed for decades in order to present unemployment numbers in a more positive light.
Since the data’s release on Friday (October 5), the president has hit the campaign trail pounding his chest and telling everyone who will listen that his policies are working.
Last Friday (October 5), CNN reported that the president told a crowd of supporters in Fairfax, Virginia, “Today I believe that as a nation, we are moving forward again. We’re moving forward.”
Well, Mr. President, we are not moving forward. Your policies are not working. The numbers are not an accurate representation of the reality of the U.S. economy and the struggles many Americans face.
In The McJobs Report, Phillip Klein attempts to put the unemployment numbers into their proper perspective.
During the robust Reagan jobs recovery in the 1980s, liberals regularly dismissed good news by attributing it to the creation of ‘McJobs.’ So it’s interesting to see liberals celebrating the September jobs report, in which the headline unemployment figure fell to 7.8 percent, largely because of an increase in Americans settling for low paying part-time jobs.
One the surface, the data paints a pretty picture. Employers added 114,000 jobs in September. However, in a separate survey by the BLS, they claim the economy added 873,000 new jobs.
When one looks more closely at the data, you can smell the fish.
Klein explains, “…a more detailed look at these numbers shows that 572,000 — or about 67 percent — of the reported job gains that contributed to the reduction in the unemployment rate came from workers who had to settle for part time work.”
According to Klein’s article, the BLS explains that,
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) rose from 8.0 million in August to 8.6 million in September. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
Klein says, “This is why a broader measure of unemployment, which takes into account those who were forced to accept inferior jobs, remained flat at 14.7 percent.”
According to the National Employment Law Project (NELP) August 2012 data brief, The Low-Wage Recovery and Growing Inequality,
During the Great Recession, employment losses occurred across the board, but were concentrated in mid-wage occupations. By contrast, in the recovery to date, employment growth has been concentrated in lower-wage occupations, which grew 2.7 times as fast as mid-wage and higher-wage occupations:
- Lower-wage occupations constituted 21 percent of recession job losses, but fully 58 percent of recovery growth.
- Mid-wage occupations constituted 60 percent of recession job losses, but only 22 percent of recovery growth.
- Higher-wage occupations constituted 19 percent of recession job losses, and 20 percent of recovery growth.
The NELP chart below illustrates these figures.
None of the numbers above includes the people who have given up looking for work or those whose unemployment benefits have run out before they found a job.
The true number of unemployed is far worse than the BLS data states. There are about 13 million unemployed and 6 million more that are no longer counted in the numbers. The workforce is shrinking, so the unemployment numbers look better, at least to the president.
At a campaign stop last Friday (October 5), Mitt Romney told the crowd that the country “can do better.” CNN quotes Romney as saying,
There were fewer new jobs created this month than last month. And the unemployment rate as you noted this year has come down very, very slowly, but it has come down nonetheless. The reason it has come down this year is primarily due to the fact that more and more people have just stopped looking for work. So it looks like unemployment is getting better, but the truth is, if the same share of people were participating in the workforce today as on the day the president got elected, why our unemployment rate would be around 11 per cent.
Mr. President, there is nothing that you should be proud of in the data behind the drop in the September unemployment rate. There is nothing to celebrate when nearly 20 million Americans, almost 15 per cent of the workforce, is not employed.
Once again, the president’s policies have failed and Americans are paying the price.
It is time for real hope and positive change, not the lying hype and pretty words spewed by the president.
Don’t be fooled again.
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