You gotta give the Obama Administration credit. What other President could preside over an INCREASE in unemployment and have the media lap dogs spin it as GOOD NEWS?! I remember when the unemployment rate under Bush rose from something like 4.4 to 4.9%. To listen to the media, you would have thought the sky was falling. I recall the reports. It was like Armageddon.
Not so with Obama. Today the unemployment rate is UP to 9.9%. just .2% below the highest level of this recession posted in October 2009. Yet, as far as the media is concerned--even on FOX News--this is a great day. Talk about the teflon magistrate! How does this guy manage to pull it off?! Only because his advocates own the press.
But there is a "legitimate" argument here. Here's the logic: Since jobs were added, more people were drawn into the labor market (looking for work) so the increase in the unemployment rate reflects the increase of people looking for work and not finding it.
Well, ok. Maybe so. That's pretty nuanced--something the main stream media works hard to avoid when "analyzing" conservative policies and players preferring broad stereotypes and liberal templates. (Witness the recent Arizona illegal imigrant enforcement act branded "nazi" by countless liberal pundits.) Bush would never in a million years been handed such a trophe.
So what's the real story--the rational one? For the past 3 months job growth has been inching upward. According to an AP article in the Daily Finance, a net 290,000 jobs were added to the economy in April. That follows a revised upward 230,000 in March and about 39,000 in February. So it appears the job loss trend finally bottomed out in January and in the last three months we've added over a half-million jobs! That IS good news. More people are working. And Obama deserves some of the credit. But not nearly as much as he'll claim.
Here are the caveats as I see them:
1. If the unemployment rate was 9.7% and it's now 9.9% despite the addition of almost 300,000 jobs, it's safe to assume that the 9.7% "official" rate is laughably deflated. Millinos of uncounted unemployed workers are sitting on the sidelines. Some estimate the real unemployment rate, when those who have given up and are no longer actively searching are added to the mix, at upwards of 15%. That's a shocking number and a HUGE indictment of Obama's failed "stimulus" policies.
2. About 66,000 of the new jobs--nearly a quarter of them--are temporary government (census) workers. 45,000 more were in leisure and hospitatlity probably reflecting seasonal trends. Others are doubtless seasonal or temporary in nature as well, such as in construction and farming. So how much of this job growth is in reliably permanent employment reflecting real strength in the private economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that employment in wholesale trade, retail trade, information, and financial sectors remained flat and transportation and warehousing actully fell suggesting that those vital areas of the private economy that offer the greatest hope for real growth continue to stagnate.
3. Growing Federal bureaucracies portend more jobs yet more trouble ahead. With thousands of pages of controversial new legislation creating hundreds of new Federal departments and bureaus, much of the forseeable growth in employment will be in the public sector -- concentrated in Washington. That's great for those employed but lousy for the rest of us paying the bill. Government workers produce no real wealth. Their earnings do go into the private sector, but all they are being paid must first come out of that same pocket in the form of either taxes or debt. This is not stimulative. It removes capital from the private economy confiscating, rather than creating wealth. Government debt also removes dollars from the hands of investors raises the cost of capital, and inhibits growth on the private side.
In short, except for the jobs directly being created by the Federal Government to meet bureaucratic needs (and arguably even then) Obama's fiscal policy has done and is doing more to inhibit economic growth than to stimulate it. His corrupt bail outs, misdirected blame, and unbridled government expansion and debt have left capital and entrepreneurship in America in paralysis. And that's the ONLY place from which real growth and real jobs can come.