Economy & Budget

Malaise update: unemployment up to 7.9 percent, income down, long-term picture gets worse

Malaise update: unemployment up to 7.9 percent, income down, long-term picture gets worse

Somehow that dastardly George Bush was able to race around the country in October and make unemployment worse – just when Obamanomics was starting to kick in, and those trillions wasted on non-existent “shovel ready jobs” were starting to pay off.  (Remember when Obama laughed after he found out there was no such thing as a shovel-ready job?  That was a real knee-slapper, wasn’t it?)

The heavily adjusted “official” U-3 unemployment rate ticked back up to 7.9 percent in October, with a modest 171,000 jobs created. This is just about enough to keep up with population growth, but not enough to keep up with both population and job losses.  Expectations from analysts were actually even lower, so from that standpoint, the October BLS report isn’t as bad as it could have been.  Unemployment among black Americans notably rose to 14.3 percent.

If Obama had managed to retain the workforce he inherited from George Bush, the official U-3 unemployment rate would be 10.6 percent for October, so real unemployment remains right where it has been throughout this disastrous presidency: stuck in double digits.  Only the complete departure of millions of Americans from the workforce allows Obama to callously pretend he has high single-digit unemployment.  He promised 5.2 percent unemployment by 2012 if he got his trillion-dollar “stimulus” bill, and openly advised Americans to vote him out of office if he failed to deliver on this promise.  Remarkably, Obama manages to criticize other people’s numbers for “not adding up” without getting laughed out of the room.

This dismal report gets worse and worse when you look behind the topline numbers.  Because of all those long-term unemployed people the U-3 measurement doesn’t count, the average duration of unemployment rose considerably through October.  Fully 40.6 percent are now unemployed for 27 weeks or longer.

And the Obamanomic transformation of America to a part-time workforce continues at a terrifying pace.  Noel Sheppart at NewsBusters points out the statistics a media that used to obsess over “burger flipper jobs” in the Bush years no longer wish to discuss: average hourly wages declined another 1 cent in October, producing a 4.9 percent decrease in median family income since Obama took office.  The average work week also declined another 0.1 hours in October, bringing it down to 33.6 hours.  And most of the jobs gained in October came from the “service sector” – i.e. restaurant and retail jobs.

This is all a reflection of the transition to part-time labor, which many employers are now openly describing as a move to escape ObamaCare.  Barack Obama’s great “achievement” as President is to create an economy where you’re lucky to find a part-time job with no insurance benefits.  Those who manage to retain full-time employment are facing absolutely skyrocketing insurance costs as a result of the President’s effort to “bend the cost curve down.”  Meanwhile, median family income declines, and the cost of vital goods increases due to Obama’s energy policies.  The middle class is under relentless attack by this President.  There is virtually no aspect of middle class existence he hasn’t made worse.

Mitt Romney said of today’s job report, “Today’s increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill. The jobless rate is higher than it was when President Obama took office, and there are still 23 million Americans struggling for work.  On Tuesday, America will make a choice between stagnation and prosperity. For four years, President Obama’s policies have crushed America’s middle class.  For four years, President Obama has told us that things are getting better and that we’re making progress. For too many American families, those words ring hollow.  We can do better.  We can have real economic growth, create millions of good-paying jobs, and give middle-class families the security and opportunity they deserve.  When I’m president, I’m going to make real changes that lead to a real recovery, so that the next four years are better than the last.”

I would beg to differ with Romney in one key regard: we’re not going to be at a “standstill” for long, if Obama gets re-elected.  The gigantic “Taxmageddon” tax increases produced by Democrat intransigence, and their inability to even produce a budget for the monstrous federal government, will blow unemployment sky high… and Obama wants to raise taxes on job creators even more.  Projections for fourth-quarter growth are even worse than the meager 2 percent from the third quarter.  Increased debt service costs following the further credit downgrades Obama’s wild spending is guaranteed to bring will drain money from the Treasury, resulting in federal chaos plus increased pressure for even higher tax increases.  The Obama Administration has actually been violating federal law to hide its next wave of job-killing regulations and layoff notices from employers, precisely because it doesn’t want them to know just how bleak the picture will become next year, and fill the media with talk of how they plan to batten down the hatches.

This is no “recovery” – it’s delusional to the point of gibbering lunacy to describe it as such.  The next recession is very probably around the corner, and Obama has left us in no shape to cope with it.  A “standstill” is what Obamanomics manages when it gets lucky.  The White House always uses boilerplate language to urge people not to “read too much into a single unemployment report.”  Fair enough, but are we also supposed to avoid reading too much into a single Presidential term?  Taken together, Obama’s unemployment reports depict a very conspicuous, and very dangerous, absence of post-recession recovery.  Are Americans really ready to settle for a New Normal where any headline unemployment rate below 8 percent is good enough?

Incredibly, the Labor Secretary actually celebrated this dismal jobs report by handing out candy to reporters.  No word on where she was able to find malaise-flavored candy.  This afternoon, she should lead a parade of reporters to whistle past a local graveyard.

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