Human Events Blog

Obama malaise continues, unemployment “holds” at 8.2 percent

“With yet another month of weak employment growth,” CNBC reports, “the second quarter marks the weakest three-month period in two years.”  Economists were said to expect a weak 100,000 jobs created, but the actual Bureau of Labor Statistics report “unexpectedly” “disappointed” them, to borrow the media’s two favorite post-2009 catch phrases, and only created 84,000 private-sector jobs.  Meanwhile, the government lost 4,000 jobs – but don’t worry, they’ll probably all get hired back to serve as IRS enforcers for ObamaCare.

It takes at least 120,000 new jobs per month to keep pace with population growth.  Some analysts think the current number is more like 150,000.  And yet, the official unemployment rate “held steady” at 8.2 percent!  This means either some bold “adjustments” have been made at BLS, or the American workforce contracted sharply again, or perhaps both.  The official BLS report says “both the civilian labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio were unchanged in June at 63.8 and 58.6 percent, respectively,” but at least 40,000 jobs are missing, between the awful June job creation and population growth.  Where did they go?

The more accurate U-6 unemployment rate, which counts long-term “discouraged” workers who have not yet exited the workforce entirely, “officially” ticked up from 14.8 to 14.9 percent, but economics website ZeroHedge says that if those wondrous “seasonal adjustments” are cleared out, the U-6 rate actually soared from 14.3 percent to 15.1 percent last month.  This would imply a sizable body of workers are on their way out of the workforce, slipping from U-3 to U-6 and then vanishing from official government statistics entirely.  An awful lot of bad news seems to be hiding behind those “seasonal adjustments.”

Here’s a little demographic data point: black unemployment rose to 14.4 percent from 13.6 percent in May, while it remained stagnant for most other groups.  For young black people, unemployment rose from 36.5 percent to 39.3 percent.  That’s what happens when government polices destroy the entry-level labor market, increasing the cost of labor through mandates, while presenting employers with a huge pool of experienced, unemployed job-seekers.  Obama’s long years of grinding unemployment are not just a long-running bummer; they are re-shaping the American workforce, creating a growing population of long-term “unemployables” who have great difficulty getting back into the game.

And get this: according to the Associated Press, “about one-third of the jobs gained in June were in temporary services.”  The Obama transition to a shriveled, part-time work force continues.

Update: Statement from Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus: “Once again, the monthly jobs report brings devastating news for the millions of Americans looking for work. The Obama economy is defined by chronically high unemployment. Our country is coming out of the worst quarter of job creation in two years. ObamaCare and President Obama’s other policies simply are not working and disappointed Americans are ready for a new direction.”

Update: Remember the stories you’ve been hearing lately about how the housing market is coming back, providing a ray of hope in this gloomy economy?  Guess again.  Construction employment just hit the lowest level since May 2011, and is just a hair above decade lows.

Update: This brings us to forty-one straight months of unemployment above 8 percent, a record for post-depression America.  President Obama promised 5.6 percent unemployment by now, if he was given his trillion dollars in “stimulus” spending, and also said his presidency should be a “one-term proposition” if he failed to deliver on that promise:

Update: Statement from Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA): “While the president is campaigning in Pennsylvania today in an effort to keep his job, nearly 23 million Americans continue to struggle to find one of their own. For those Americans who are unemployed, underemployed, or who have altogether thrown in the towel in their search for work, today’s jobs report offers little hope that the economic tide will turn any time soon. Obamacare’s devastating tax burden, the soon to expire tax cuts, and increasing federal regulatory overreach will only continue to hurt job creation.”

Update: Mitt Romney called the new job report “another kick in the gut to middle-class families.”  As bad as the new numbers are, Romney said they “understate what people are feeling, and the amount of pain which is occurring, in middle-class America.”  He pointed out that the true unemployment rate, including the people who aren’t counted in the official 8.2 percent reported throughout the media, is closer to 15 percent, and even that doesn’t count everyone who is employed beneath their true potential.

Romney cited other dismal economic indicators, such as the recent manufacturing slowdown, and concluded that “the President’s policies have clearly not been successful in re-igniting this economy, in putting people back to work, in opening up manufacturing plants across the country.  The heartland industries where manufacturing occurs are struggling by virtue of policies on the part of the President that have not worked.  The highest corporate tax rates in the world do not create jobs.  The highest regulatory burdens in our nation’s history – those do not create jobs.  Trade policies that have not opened up new markets for American goods, particularly in Latin America – those don’t create new jobs.  Failing to effectively crack down on China for cheating and stealing American jobs – that has not helped.”

“The President’s policies have not gotten America working again, and the President is going to have to stand up and take responsibility for it,” Romney charged, doubtless knowing full well that Barack Obama will do no such thing.  We’re much more likely to get another speech about how everything is George W. Bush’s fault.  By the way, happy birthday to former – well, according to Obama, current – President Bush!

Update: Governor Romney will doubtless be disappointed to learn that the President has no intention of taking responsibility for anything.  In fact, the White House says “it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”  Yes, really.

Update: In a long, rambling speech packed with fresh demands for higher taxes and more government spending, in which he held out the bankrupt auto industry as a model for American business to follow, President Obama called the disastrous June unemployment report “a step in the right direction.”  Yes, really:

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