Jobless rate hits 8.1%, 651K jobs lost in February

posted at 2:16 pm on March 6, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the latest jobless numbers, and they’re bleak.  Unemployment jumped a half percentage point to 8.1% as over 650,000 jobs were lost last month:

The nation’s unemployment rate rose to 8.1 percent in February, the Labor Department reported this morning, adding another grim indicator to an economic picture already darkened this week.

More than 650,000 people lost their jobs last month, pushing the unemployment rate up from 7.6 percent in January.

The jobless rate stood at its highest point since 1983.

The expectation of another reported increase in unemployment already was sending stock futures lower this morning in advance of trading on the final day of a week in which key indices had reached their lowest levels in more than a decade.

Oddly, though, by mid-day, the markets returned to just about their opening numbers.  Wall Street obviously expected bad news, and didn’t seem shocked by it.  Why should they be?  The job losses matched those in January and December almost exactly, which is consistency of a most unpleasant sort.  Plus, the Obama administration has busied itself by mostly talking about the crisis in panicked terms, which has the effect of keeping capital out of the market — and with it the engine of job creation.

The Obama administration appears to have belatedly recognized the problem.  However, their plan to address it consists of the hair of the dog:

The government is seeking to resuscitate the nation’s crippled financial system by forging an alliance with the very outfits that most benefited from the bonanza preceding the collapse of the credit markets: hedge funds and private-equity firms.

The initiative to revive the consumer lending business, outlined by officials this week, offers these wealthy investors a new chance to make sizable profits — but, thanks to the government, without the risk of massive losses.

The idea is to entice them to put their huge cash piles to work to stimulate the financial system. They would be invited to buy up recently issued, highly rated securities. These securities finance consumer lending, such as credit cards and student and auto loans.

The program, which could involve the government lending nearly $1 trillion to these investors, exceeds the size of every other federal effort to address the crisis so far. The initiative’s approach could be the model for future federal efforts to aid the credit markets, sources familiar with government planning said. Officials call this strategy a “public-private partnership,” but in essence the government is offering good deals to private investors to draw them into its rescue efforts.

Basically, Obama plans to get investors to buy up securities with the promise that the government won’t let them suffer losses on bad bets.  Say, doesn’t that sound awfully familiar?


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ladyingray on March 6, 2009 at 6:43 PM

Nah…you’ll have it made. You can join a government employee’s union, get a pension…a raise…life will be sweet. /s

genso on March 6, 2009 at 6:46 PM

hmmm…I currently don’t have a pension plan…naw, a union ain’t worth it. :-)

And don’t forget those 25 cops are only covered by the porkulus bill for one year. In a year, either they walk or the taxpayers of Columbus get a tax increase.

Wanna guess which will happen?

Yeah…The Precedent…getting things done. /s

ladyingray on March 6, 2009 at 6:51 PM

Emperor Obama is doing a financial version replay of WWI. In WWI million of troops were sent into a meat grinder and killed with little, if any, advancement in battlefield position achieved. Now Emperor Obama is sending billions of dollars into a pork grinder/Black Hole with little, if any, advancement in the economy being made.

History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.
- Karl Marx

MB4 on March 6, 2009 at 6:59 PM

And all those people standing in line who voted for The One, would do it again tomorrow if we had an election.

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 6, 2009 at 7:14 PM

661 thousand lost jobs in February, yet Obama boards Air Force One, travels to Ohio to congradulate twenty-five police officers who recieved a job due to stimulus. Twenty-five.

Oh, and he took his teleprompter with him! Would someone please tell President Teleprompter the campaign is over…

TN Mom on March 6, 2009 at 7:14 PM

Oh, and he took his teleprompter with him! Would someone please tell President Teleprompter the campaign is over…

He can’t speak without it. IF asked a question, he might be able to articulate some kind of answer. But if giving some address, he can’t formulate the words in his brain. That is what leads to the stuttering, stammering, and the uh-uh chorus. It’s so embarrassing, he can’t afford to go anywhere without a teleprompter. The part of the brain that controls impromptu speech is damaged in obama.

keep the change on March 6, 2009 at 7:50 PM

Unemployment is at 8.1% and climbing. Soon it will be over 10%…1 in 10 unemployed and some here still play these silly partisan games. It’s like you think this is a joke and it’s business as usual. I think if you start calling your government officials and let them know how you feel it would help but you are having too much fun to let it end. Obama has no clue. This may turn out to be the best thing possible to get the people to throw out the democrats once and for all. The only thing democrats can succeed at are raising taxes and spending money. Tax and spend…happy days are here again along with forclosures, unemployment. and soup lines. Lets see if Obama can make 100 days before the press completely turns on him. I doubt it.

kanda on March 6, 2009 at 7:56 PM

My alma mater is getting restructured in anticipation of a depression. They are slashing entire departments & many people will lose their jobs. I’ve never seen anything like this.

youngTXcon on March 6, 2009 at 8:00 PM

kanda on March 6, 2009 at 7:56 PM

I think it will take some time for the public to associate the current economic debacle with the new regime. For now, the mess is perceived by the public as being inherited rather than created by Obama’s admin. It is still very much a product of the last ten years in many minds.

lexhamfox on March 6, 2009 at 8:06 PM

Lets see if Obama can make 100 days before the press completely turns on him. I doubt it.

I doubt that the press, the MSM that is, would completely turn on him. It would amount to an admission of mistake, and maybe guilt, if they did.

miron on March 6, 2009 at 11:24 PM

Get used to a lot more “worst ________ since _____ “.

Weebork on March 6, 2009 at 11:46 PM

Great deflection blaming a President in office forty days for the inherited bush depression.

Of course, it is intellectually dishonest.

And this is Barry’s only talent–intellectual dishonesty. Look, this moron spent two years running for president. It’s not like he could’t figure out what was happening and didn’t have time to come up with a coherent, effective plan that didn’t involve sinking us further into debt. Everything reset on Jan 20th. This is That One’s problem to solve now. But yet, the first thing he does when getting into office is say “As I’ve said before…I had no idea how bad things were. As I’ve said before, I inhereted this economy. As I’ve said before…uhhh…uhhh…uhhh so I can’t be expected to figure out how to fix it” Or words to that affect.

What’s past is past. The responsibiity is now his. Hell, does a new CEO that gets hired to turn a company around come out and say…”well, you know..these problems aren’t really mine, so don’t expect me to fix it any time soon. Now, where’s my corporate jet? I have places to go”. No. That CEO makes sure he is the one now responsible for what is happening in that company. Any CEO that followed Barry’s process would be fired in a week. But, see, that concept is foreign to Barry, since the buffoon has never had a job in his life.

It is now apparent that this no-op wanted all the trappings, benefits, and adulation that comes with being President, but is unwilling to perform the actual responsibilities. It’s more important for him to jet around on AF1 and start campaigning for 2012, read speeches on a teleprompter and hold Hump Day keggers, stiffing the tax payers for $100/lb steak.

I’m am now convinced this rube had not planned on winning. So now that he is there, he hasn’t a f****ing clue what to do.

Fed45 on March 7, 2009 at 1:36 AM

I am happy that a President is investing in our country.

What the hell??? This bozo and Wheezie don’t even rise to the level of novices when it comes to investing. The few meager investments he did make yielded him a $13,000 loss So it’s no surprise they have no clue what the DJIA numbers mean or how the stock market works. “Profit and earnings ratio?” WTF???

Fed45 on March 7, 2009 at 1:56 AM

Some people need to learn to be happy with dirty jobs.

Bush is to blame for everything he did, and Obama is to blame for everything he did. That’s just the way it is.

JohnJ on March 7, 2009 at 2:20 AM

JohnJ on March 7, 2009 at 2:20 AM

It is exactly the “dirty jobs” that I lament our losing. The best way to make a relatively uneducated person earn a middle class wage is in manufacturing. But we send away all the manufacturing jobs to other countries.

We lie to ourselves that we will replace them with tech jobs, but they get sent out too. How many computer jobs have been lost overseas?

Then we argue that people need to learn a new skill. But they are unemployed and cannot afford the payments for college. Many of the casualties are the older workers because they drive up the cost of insurance for the company. It is hard to just change careers when you are 50+ years old. You just don’t have the health and energy that you used to.

Even if you could afford to go to school, many of the schools don’t really teach as much as they indoctrinate now. The classical education is gone and replaced with the socially responsible education.

So yeah, good game folks. let’s just ship out the manufacturing jobs. It will all be good. HOGWASH!

Hawthorne on March 7, 2009 at 2:34 AM

Hawthorne on March 7, 2009 at 2:34 AM

Thank the “we don’t support amnesty, but we support H1/L1 abuse that’s technically legal” Republicans.

sethstorm on March 7, 2009 at 6:08 AM

WSJ
Michael J. Boskin writes, Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing the Dow

New and expanded refundable tax credits would raise the fraction of taxpayers paying no income taxes to almost 50% from 38%. This is potentially the most pernicious feature of the president’s budget, because it would cement a permanent voting majority with no stake in controlling the cost of general government.

From the poorly designed stimulus bill and vague new financial rescue plan, to the enormous expansion of government spending, taxes and debt somehow permanently strengthening economic growth, the assumptions underlying the president’s economic program seem bereft of rigorous analysis and a careful reading of history.

Unfortunately, our history suggests new government programs, however noble the intent, more often wind up delivering less, more slowly, at far higher cost than projected, with potentially damaging unintended consequences. The most recent case, of course, was the government’s meddling in the housing market to bring home ownership to low-income families, which became a prime cause of the current economic and financial disaster.

On the growth effects of a large expansion of government, the European social welfare states present a window on our potential future: standards of living permanently 30% lower than ours. Rounding off perceived rough edges of our economic system may well be called for, but a major, perhaps irreversible, step toward a European-style social welfare state with its concomitant long-run economic stagnation is not.

Mr. Boskin is a professor of economics at Stanford University and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He chaired the Council of Economic Advisers under President George H.W. Bush.

Gateway Pundit
Donald Luskin at Smart Money reported, via Free Republic:

Today’s stock market isn’t just the “worst since the Great Depression,” like they’re so fond of saying. No, it’s even worse than the Great Depression.

Take a look at the chart

truth be told

maverick muse on March 7, 2009 at 7:14 AM

Bush is to blame for everything he did, and Obama is to blame for everything he did. That’s just the way it is.

JohnJ

We enjoyed employment and security with President Bush. We are not enjoying our unemployment, national economic ruin and complete insecurity with Pres.Obama, and that’s just the way it is.

maverick muse on March 7, 2009 at 7:24 AM

One accomplishment after another! Ohmygod is already the worst president in history!!

DanaSmiles on March 7, 2009 at 9:25 AM

Great deflection blaming a President in office forty days for the inherited bush depression.

Of course, it is intellectually dishonest.

getalife on March 6, 2009 at 2:58 PM

President Obama has had plenty of time to:

* Issue an Executive Order to defang the CDS monster, as I noted in the Ticker yesterday.
* Direct the FBI (an Executive Department) to start going after the crooks who caused this mess, and make a very public statement to that effect.
* Stop appointing tax cheats to the cabinet, stop backing those who are already in, and replace them. Volcker would make an excellent Treasury Secretary and I bet he paid his taxes.
* And more.

Unfortunately, Obama has done nothing but make every wrong move imaginable, maybe purposely. I say purposely because I can’t imagine anyone making these moves without knowing that they will destroy the nation. The stimulus bill is exactly the opposite of what we needed.

True_King on March 7, 2009 at 9:50 AM

Great deflection blaming a President in office forty days for the inherited bush depression.

Of course, it is intellectually dishonest.

getalife on March 6, 2009 at 2:58 PM

President Obama has had plenty of time to:

* Issue an Executive Order to defang the CDS monster, as I noted in the Ticker yesterday.
* Direct the FBI (an Executive Department) to start going after the crooks who caused this mess, and make a very public statement to that effect.
* Stop appointing tax cheats to the cabinet, stop backing those who are already in, and replace them. Volcker would make an excellent Treasury Secretary and I bet he paid his taxes.
* And more.

Unfortunately, Obama has done nothing but make every wrong move imaginable, maybe purposely. I say purposely because I can’t imagine anyone making these moves without knowing that they will destroy the nation. The stimulus bill is exactly the opposite of what we needed.

True_King on March 7, 2009 at 9:50 AM

I like your ideas, True_King. Why couldn’t Obama just announce that pork-laden “stimulus” bill was a terrible mistake, and replace it with a trillion dollars’ worth of capital-gains and payroll tax cuts, to get the economy moving again and give working taxpayers some immediate relief? Or announce that since Congress does not allow its employees to form unions, the auto companies are effectively wards of Congress after their bailouts, and it’s obvious that the elevated cost of labor is what got them in trouble, that collective bargaining is hereby suspended for any company that received bailout money? Or begin disbanding wasteful government agencies and returning their value to the economy as corporate tax cuts, which would produce immediate economic benefits? Or at least refrain from announcing a new business-killing program every day?

I have to admit that getalife’s well-reasoned, lengthy posts gave me pause and forced me to take a second look at economic theory. Maybe the stock market is more concerned with the past than the future. Maybe it’s unfair to blame the staggering loss of market failure since Obama’s election on Obama, or the decline since 2006 on the ascension of Democrats to total congressional power. After all, businesses make their decisions base primarily on their bitter feelings about the past, don’t they? The market is tanking now because they’re looking back at 2008, and it pisses them off so much they’re devaluing their stocks. A year from now, after Obama’s reckless tax and spending policies have fully kicked in, they’ll look back at those gigantic deficits and ridiculous spending programs, and feel so much better about themselves that the market will soar! But for right now, executives and stock traders spend their days sitting in front of newspapers from 2008, reliving yesterday’s headlines and snapping pencils as they angrily write down the orders to lay off employees and liquidate their holdings. It all makes sense… if you have absolutely no critical thinking skills, or understanding of economics, and you like to waste your time making a fool of yourself for a forum full of people who amuse themselves by ripping you to shreds.

Doctor Zero on March 7, 2009 at 10:10 AM

The recovery begins the moment the Bedcrapper in Chief loses HIS job.

Impeach Obama/Biden.

NoDonkey on March 7, 2009 at 10:53 AM

Great deflection blaming a President in office forty days for the inherited bush depression.

Of course, it is intellectually dishonest.

getalife on March 6, 2009 at 2:58 PM

40 days, with trillions of dollars on tap to fix things from day 1, hour 1, and Obama keeps throwing monkey wrenches into the economy. Well, maybe crescent wrenches, because the term “monkey wrench” might be misinterpreted as an epithet. Then again, “crescent wrench” might be also. “Hex wrench”? No, sounds like he’s cursing the economy.

Well, whatever kinds of wrenches he’s throwing in, they are breaking things. Maybe he has to hold the wrench by the handle, carefully consider the layout of the work, and apply just the right amount of force on the one or two places where adjustment is needed. Then again, Obama doesn’t look or act like a guy who’s ever held a wrench — he should take some lessons from Joe the Plumber.

You, getalife, are intellectually dishonest for Blaming Bush when it’s Obama, Franks, and Waters who all played hands-on roles in the Freddie/Fannie debacle — trillions in “zero down” NINJA mortgages, backed and encouraged by Democratic policies in place long before Bush took office, which caused every other economic sector to crash.

Citibank, WaMu, BofA — all of them are victims, not perps. It was Freddie and Fannie which made the mortgage securities market possible and which set the rules. When Bush tried to complain (about underregulation), his guy was shouted down by Franks and Waters. That “shout-down” was a symptom of the endemic nature of the ailment, and an indication of where the infection that so badly sicked our economy was being harbored. Citibank was specifically targeted for its refusal to issue NINJA mortgages by a legal team containing a young attorney named Barack Obama, and was forced to do so by the weight of the federal laws then in place.

Blaming Bush is like Blaming Canada — it may be convenient, but the facts don’t back it up.

unclesmrgol on March 7, 2009 at 10:54 AM

Wall Street does not care about workers.

getalife on March 6, 2009 at 4:16 PM

Spoken like a true Marxist. Look, you have no right to a job. You have no right to be employed. Businesses don’t exist to provide people jobs. Businesses exist to make money. To do so they look for various tools and resources to enable them to make money. One of those “resources” are people doing PRODUCTIVE jobs. Once you cease to be productive, or the cost of your output becomes a negative relative to the company’s profits, it behooves them to eliminate it. I realize that sounds very cold and calculating, but that’s reality.

Fed45 on March 7, 2009 at 11:20 AM

Fed45 on March 7, 2009 at 11:20 AM

That doesn’t mean you let them walk all over the nation.

sethstorm on March 8, 2009 at 3:13 PM

It is no longer Hope and Change, it is now “Hey man, you have any change?”

lwssdd on March 9, 2009 at 2:20 PM

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