When the dismal June jobs report was released, Barack Obama tried to shine it up by calling it “a step in the right direction.” However, the July report released last Friday was so bad that the White House advised us not to even look at it. Americans really “shouldn’t focus on any single monthly jobs report,” they warned.
That may make political sense for Team Obama during the campaign season, but the bigger problem is that collectively the economic record is even worse.
The unemployment rate went up in July to 8.3% according to the Labor Department’s latest report, as the total number of unemployed workers increased by 45,000. That’s 42 months in a row over 8.0%.
New jobs for the month totaled 163,000. Better than last month, but barely half the number needed to begin a return to a normal healthy economy.
In addition, the anemic June new jobs report was revised downward from 80,000 to just 64,000, continuing a pattern of revising downward already disappointing jobs reports the month after they are initially released.
As lackluster as it is, the new jobs total is really a “mirage” created by highly suspect “seasonal adjustments” arbitrarily made by the government to estimate the number of jobs, as accurately explained by Investor’s Business Daily. The rest of the Labor Department’s report confirms IBD’s suspicions that somebody was cooking the books to give Obama at least a fig leaf to hide behind during the heat of the election campaign.
For example, the report reveals that the active workforce population actually shrunk by 150,000 as workers continue to give up trying to find a job.
The contraction of the workforce is particularly notable considering that the total civilian age-eligible population increased by 199,000 in July. The combination of the increase in population and decline in the workforce resulted in a 348,000 increase in the number of the people classified as “Not in the labor force” according to the July report. In other words, for every one new job supposedly created more than two people left or chose to not even enter the work force. The result was another drop in the Labor Force Participation Rate to 63.7%; just one tick away from matching the lowest LPR since 1981 – except for another Obama dubious record achieved in April, 2012.
The number of part-time workers – 8.246 million – increased by 36,000 in July, and has ballooned by 574,000 in just the last four months. In healthy economic times, about 4 million Americans work part-time, but for 41 of the last 43 months more than 8 million workers have had to settle for less than full-time employment, if they could find work at all. Unsurprisingly, the Labor Department’s U-6 ratio that measures unemployment levels and those “marginally attached” to the workforce increased to 15% in July, and has been trending upward for three months.
Following yet another dismal monthly jobs report, the President’s chief economist Allen Krueger said it was “critical” that America continue Obama’s policies that have the country mired in economic muck. That’s my characterization – Krueger, of course, would have us believe that happy days are right around the corner.
Larry Kudlow, noted economist and host of CNBC’s The Kudlow Report, has a different view. Kudlow says “it’s a wonder businesses are hiring at all – especially small business.” Instead of Obama’s misguided policies creating “tax and regulatory threats (that) are everywhere,” Kudlow offers his own ideas:
“Extend all the Bush tax cuts, slash the corporate tax rate, and approve and begin building the Keystone Pipeline. This is a supply-side proposal. It’s completely unlike all of Obama’s goofy, short-term, spending-and-tax-credit stimuli, which have completely failed.”
Kudlow doesn’t pretend his plan is all that revolutionary or unique; just common-sense. “Come to think of it,” he says, “it’s sort of Mitt Romney’s economic platform.” And, therein is the real idea for economic recovery.
Bob Beauprez is a former member of Congress from Colorado with successful careers as a dairy farmer, community banker, and real estate development. He has published his first book, publishes a public policy website, www.ALineofSight.com, and operates a buffalo breeding ranch in the Colorado mountains.
His column was originally published here