This is your “Obama recovery”

posted at 7:10 pm on February 20, 2012 by Mitch Berg

The Dems are crowing about the drop in unemployment numbers.

But if you look a little further into the numbers, you see that the American job market is notbetter off than it was four years ago.  Indeed, it’s a lot worse.

On Inauguration Day in 2009, when Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent (up from 4.4% as recently as May of 2007).  Notwithstanding his promises that Porkulus would cap unemployment at 8.5%, it soared to 10% in October of 2009, and didn’t dip down below 9% in any sustained way until last fall.  Last month, after three years of Obama, it was at 8.3% – or .2% lower than where he said it’d never get above if we spent what he proposed.

That’s bad.

“But 8.3% is better than 10%, right?”

Sure – if all you’re doing is comparing numbers straight-up.  But by itself, the unemployment rate is meaningless.  It’s a percentage of people out of work – but who are those people?  They are the ones that are participating in the labor market.

And fewer Americans than ever -ever! – are doing that!

So let’s figure the actual percentage of Americans working, overall.

January 2009: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Workforce Participation rate when Obama took office was 65.7%.  That means 34.3% of the workforce wasn’t even trying to participate, through discouragement, disability or whatever case applied.  Add to that the 7.8% unemployed, and you reach a figure of 57.1% of the American workforce actually working.

October 2009:  At this point, the “low point” of the Obama recession, the participation rate was an even 65% just in time for unemployment to hit an even 10%.,  55% of the American work force was working.

January, 2012:  As unemployment stood at 8.3%, the workforce participation rate was 63.7% – the lowest since records have been kept.  That means that overall employment in the American workforce is now a whopping…

…55.2%.

That’s a fifth of a percent higher than it was at the lowest point of the Obama recession.

Almost two full points lower than it was when Barack Obama took office. 

(And five full points lower than June of 2003, the worst month of George W. Bush’s presidency.  That’s five percent lower employment overall.  Six and change if you take one of Bush’s better months).

The media is spinning nonstop about the “Obama recovery”.  It’s vapor; in terms of percentage of the American workforce actually working, there is no recovery.

Are you better off than you were four years ago, America?

No – you’re doing two percent worse.

Update, 2/21/12: Yesterday, in my piece “This Is Your Obama Recovery“, I looked at the math behind the unemployment numbers.  I concluded that when you subtract the unemployment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics Labor Force Participation numbers, the number of Americans working is two percentage points lower than it was when Barack Obama was inaugurated, and only a fifth of a point better than the “low point” of the recession (in unemployment terms), in October of 2009.

I reached the numbers by subtracting the unemployment figure from the participation figure; for example, in October of 2009, I subtracted the 10% unemployment rate from the 65% participation rate to get an overall employment rate of 55%.
A commenter at Hot Air - where Allahpundit was kind enough to run my post in its entirety - pointed out that I did the math wrong.  He was correct, of course; the unemployment rate is among those participating in the labor force, not the entire force.  I needed to recalculate, multiplying the BLS Labor Force Participation Rate  by the same month’s unemployment rate as supplied by the BLS.
It actually makes things worse for the Administration.
  • January 2009:  7.8% unemployment among the 65.7% of people participating in the workforce meant 60.67% of the work force was working the day Barack Obama was inaugurated.
  • October 2010 - lopping 10% unemployment from the 65% participation rate leaves you 58.5% of the workforce at work on the month the unemployment rate supposedly bottomed.
  • January 2012 - Three years after Obama took office, with the unemployment rate right about the point where Obama said that it’d peak with Porkulus?  8.3% unemployment among a 63.7% share of the workforce still in the workforce yields58.41% of the labor force actually working.
So I was wrong.  We actually have a lower percentage of the work force actually working now than at the “low point” of the recession”, and two and a quarter points lower than when Obama took office.
I regret the error.
I hope America feels the same.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
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Did they see my middle finger?

KOOLAID2 on February 20, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Half of America is too thick to get it.

CW on February 20, 2012 at 7:12 PM

Figures lie…Liars figure!

KOOLAID2 on February 20, 2012 at 7:14 PM

Recover THIS!

annoyinglittletwerp on February 20, 2012 at 7:15 PM

ah sweet lies….

thedevilinside on February 20, 2012 at 7:16 PM

someone earlier mention Pravda – that is what our MSN has become — thanks to sites like Hot Gas we can overcome the smell of misinformation ..

wheels on February 20, 2012 at 7:22 PM

nothing to see here
-lsm

cmsinaz on February 20, 2012 at 7:24 PM

When you slit a pig’s throat, the bleeding will eventually slow, then stop…it doesn’t mean the pig is healing.

RarestRX on February 20, 2012 at 7:24 PM

The Worst Economy Since The Great Depression

Now where is the video of Dear Reader, aka King Putt saying that phrase in 2008?

Joe Mama on February 20, 2012 at 7:26 PM

Perfect song for this thread.

annoyinglittletwerp on February 20, 2012 at 7:27 PM

When you slit a pig’s throat, the bleeding will eventually slow, then stop…it doesn’t mean the pig is healing.

RarestRX on February 20, 2012 at 7:24 PM

+1000

That’s a great word picture… unfortunately, it will only resonate with flyover country. All lib coasties will recoil in horror at imagined violence against animals, then head off to see SAW XXVI.

Marcola on February 20, 2012 at 7:30 PM

The fact that the “official” unemployment rate is allowed to be jiggered by including “participation rate” is an intentional attempt to deceive the public.

The fact that news organizations report that unemployment is getting better under 0bama – rather than worse – instead of accompanying it with exposes that show why it is an intentionally deceptive number, designed to promote a lie from the government to the citizens, mean that the MSM is in frank collusion with the 0bama administration to lie about the state of the economy.

Yes, it was calculated this way under Bush, too, and it was just as reprehensible then.

This is an ongoing, intentional, mathematical fraud foisted on the citizens by their elected representatives, and should be outlawed on the basis of fradulent economic reporting to the citizenry.

cane_loader on February 20, 2012 at 7:31 PM

But, according to the ‘news’, we’re saved. The economy is growing at a faster rate than ever before. Never mind those gas prices.

chewmeister on February 20, 2012 at 7:33 PM

Can we moon them?

KOOLAID2 on February 20, 2012 at 7:34 PM

But we need free contraceptives!

/liberal mentality

rbj on February 20, 2012 at 7:34 PM

Doesn’t matter. Look how much explaining it took to get the point across. If the jobs numbers continue to improve, Obama gets credit and is easily re-elected, regardless of whether they are fudged or not telling the whole story.

gumbyandpokey on February 20, 2012 at 7:36 PM

The American public is as thick as the Germans in 1936. All smoke and mirrors and they believe it. They will know more about the Jersey Shore then our economic picture.

Conservative4ev on February 20, 2012 at 7:37 PM

cane_loader on February 20, 2012 at 7:31 PM

True, but the number of people who have given up looking for work and not being counted as unemployed is much higher than when W was president. The actual unemployment figure is much higher now. This is the most corrupt administration in history, and is only going to get worse with the false reporting of what’s actually happening in this country.

chewmeister on February 20, 2012 at 7:44 PM

No – you’re doing two percent worse.

lol….speak for yourself.

You’ll never go broke betting AGAINST a Marxist.

Tim_CA on February 20, 2012 at 7:49 PM

The unemployment number is bogus to you if you’re still unemployed. If your still working part time or having to work two jobs to maintain your lifestyle then the employment figures are a joke.

The Obozo administration is just lying to themselves as well as the American people.

banzaibob on February 20, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Well this is an “historic” and “unprecedented” administration.

Question is, can the country take 4 more years of Barry Obama and his ‘economic socialist theories?

GarandFan on February 20, 2012 at 7:52 PM

Pay no attention to the lying media whores behind that curtain!

profitsbeard on February 20, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Unless the conservative players figure out how to present the facts to the sheeple, it doesn’t matter.

crash72 on February 20, 2012 at 7:55 PM

True, but the number of people who have given up looking for work and not being counted as unemployed is much higher than when W was president. The actual unemployment figure is much higher now. This is the most corrupt administration in history, and is only going to get worse with the false reporting of what’s actually happening in this country.

chewmeister on February 20, 2012 at 7:44 PM

But that’s my point, unless I’m not reading my own writing properly.

I’m saying that they SHOULD be included in the employment pool, which should consist of able-bodied workers, whether they have given up looking or not. Then you get a truer number.

Otherwise, just the act of extending benefits to 99 weeks in itself manipulated the number, because they technically had not given up.

If 0bama has rogered the economy so badly that people have given up, then damn straight they should be included in the unemployment pool when it comes to measuring unemployment!!

Tell me if I’m not thinking straight…I had a medical procedure today with sedation so my mind’s not too sharp…

cane_loader on February 20, 2012 at 7:59 PM

The Administration keeps harping about the U3 number from the BLS. Rush explained this very well last week… to get to 8.3%, they “lost” or better stated DROPPED 1.2 million jobs from this calculation.

The U6 is the real unemployment rate

As everyone in this thread pretty much knows, you can’t teach this to idealogs who can’t see past their entitlement check. When you don’t have skin in the game, life is good and that’s the dependent society dear leader wishes to build.

VietVet_Dave on February 20, 2012 at 7:59 PM

The American public is as thick as the Germans in 1936. All smoke and mirrors and they believe it. They will know more about the Jersey Shore then our economic picture.

Conservative4ev on February 20, 2012 at 7:37 PM

…or the American public reelecting FDR. Little Bammie is following FDR’s reelection model.

slickwillie2001 on February 20, 2012 at 8:04 PM

Paid $4.49 for gas today.

And it wil be going up.

Obama’s done.

Tim_CA on February 20, 2012 at 8:05 PM

He’s making his “I just sucked a lemon” face again.

Flange on February 20, 2012 at 8:15 PM

Imagine if the alphabets and cnn did their jobs, and conducted in-depth analysis like this, instead of “obama bumps” and competing for the best seats at whitehouse parties.

BruthaMan on February 20, 2012 at 8:17 PM

Half of America is too thick to get it.

But they’re not that thick when it comes to getting all the freebies are they?

According to the majority of them….we’re the stupid ones for working.

Twana on February 20, 2012 at 8:26 PM

….pants on fire.

I wish, just once, that some intrepid soul on the alphabets would report the truth behind the numbers.

herm2416 on February 20, 2012 at 8:28 PM

With this stimulus package, we’ve created or saved evaporated and expunged over 3 million jobs workers.

D.Mockracy on February 20, 2012 at 8:43 PM

COSTELLO: I want to talk about the unemployment rate in America.
ABBOTT: Good Subject. Terrible Times. It’s 9%.
COSTELLO: That many people are out of work?
… ABBOTT: No, that’s 16%.
COSTELLO: You just said 9%.
ABBOTT: 9% Unemployed.
COSTELLO: Right 9% out of work.
ABBOTT: No, that’s 16%.
COSTELLO: Okay, so it’s 16% unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, that’s 9%…
COSTELLO: WAIT A MINUTE. Is it 9% or 16%?
ABBOTT: 9% are unemployed. 16% are out of work.
COSTELLO: IF you are out of work you are unemployed.
ABBOTT: No, you can’t count the “Out of Work” as the unemployed. You have to look for work to be unemployed.
COSTELLO: BUT THEY ARE OUT OF WORK!!!
ABBOTT: No, you miss my point.
COSTELLO: What point?
ABBOTT: Someone who doesn’t look for work, can’t be counted with those who look for work. It wouldn’t be fair.
COSTELLO: To who?
ABBOTT: The unemployed.
COSTELLO: But they are ALL out of work.
ABBOTT: No, the unemployed are actively looking for work. Those who are out of work stopped looking. They gave up. And, if you give up, you are no longer in the ranks of the unemployed.
COSTELLO: So if you’re off the unemployment roles, that would count as less unemployment?
ABBOTT: Unemployment would go down. Absolutely!
COSTELLO: The unemployment just goes down because you don’t look for work?
ABBOTT: Absolutely it goes down. That’s how you get to 9%. Otherwise it would be 16%. You don’t want to read about 16% unemployment, do ya?
COSTELLO: That would be frightening.
ABBOTT: Absolutely.
COSTELLO: Wait, I got a question for you. That means there are two ways to bring down the unemployment number?
ABBOTT: Two ways is correct.
COSTELLO: Unemployment can go down if someone gets a job?
ABBOTT: Correct.
COSTELLO: And unemployment can also go down if you stop looking for a job?
ABBOTT: Bingo.
COSTELLO: So there are two ways to bring unemployment down, and the easier of the two is to just stop looking for work.
ABBOTT: Now you’re thinking like an economist.
COSTELLO: I don’t even know what in the world I just said!
And now you know how and why Obama’s unemployment figures are improving and will continue to improve all the way to November 6, 2012.

SteveInRTP on February 20, 2012 at 9:40 PM

If you think that gasoline price will significantly affect Obama’s reelection chances, think again. Most of his base are urban, and mentally incapable of making a connection between gas and food prices. Also, short-term measures such as dumping strategic reserves into market or strong-arming oil companies and/or gas station networks to temporarily reduce prices are expected to pass about mid-summer – to “help people enjoy the vacations”, of course.

Archivarix on February 20, 2012 at 9:44 PM

Disagree. In January 2009 the economy lost 598K jobs; in January 2012 the economy added 243K jobs. In 4Q08, GDP declined 6.2% and followed that with a 6.1% decline in 1Q09. First estimates for 4Q11 GDP show 2.8% growth, with a prediction of 2.5-3.0% growth for 1Q12. On February 19, 2009, the Dow closed at 7,465.95, the lowest level since October 2002, and on the way down to a bear market bottom of 6,547.05 on March 9, 2009. Today the Dow stands near 13,000. Clearly the economy has rebounded and is in much better shape than it was 3 years ago.

TouchdownBuddha on February 20, 2012 at 9:56 PM

Paid $4.49 for gas today.

And it wil be going up.

Obama’s done.

Tim_CA on February 20, 2012 at 8:05 PM

Well, if gas prices were the only thing that folks have on their minds when they go to vote, then with gas prices almost a buck over the national average, why isn’t your state turning red?

Gas could hit 7 bucks and liberal states like yours will still go for the Zero.

climbnjump on February 20, 2012 at 10:08 PM

Disagree. In January 2009 the economy lost 598K jobs; in January 2012 the economy added 243K jobs. In 4Q08, GDP declined 6.2% and followed that with a 6.1% decline in 1Q09. First estimates for 4Q11 GDP show 2.8% growth, with a prediction of 2.5-3.0% growth for 1Q12. On February 19, 2009, the Dow closed at 7,465.95, the lowest level since October 2002, and on the way down to a bear market bottom of 6,547.05 on March 9, 2009. Today the Dow stands near 13,000. Clearly the economy has rebounded and is in much better shape than it was 3 years ago.

TouchdownBuddha on February 20, 2012 at 9:56 PM

This is true if and only if GDP and total employment are higher now than they were then. Otherwise, it’s sophistry.

As for the “rebound,” all that takes is for the economy to bottom out – stop falling – and move up just a teensy tiny bit. Sure, it’s a rebound – doesn’t mean it’s a particularly strong one or anywhere near enough to get us where we were, let alone where we ought to be.

Aquarian on February 20, 2012 at 11:35 PM

SteveInRTP on February 20, 2012 at 9:40 PM

outeffenstanding

D.Mockracy on February 20, 2012 at 11:37 PM

SteveInRTP on February 20, 2012 at 9:40 PM

Bravo, Sir!

Ironically, I had just returned 5 5Gallon gas cans to the store (had to fix a car with full gas tank). As i stood there i realised that the gas i siphoned off i had brought at $3.18 a gallon.. the price is now $3.55 and the cans were $10 apiece.

I would have been better served to have kept all the cans full and stored away. It would have saved money in the longer term the way things are going.

Better start practicing my alcohol distilling skills. I have a feeling as currency and fuel it’ll be the wave of the future especially if President Obama is re-elected.

BlaxPac on February 20, 2012 at 11:52 PM

The wheels are falling off of the Soetoro train of lies. By November his incompetence will be even more obvious.

BHO Jonestown on February 21, 2012 at 12:00 AM

Math is hard.

juanito on February 21, 2012 at 12:47 AM

On Inauguration Day in 2009, when Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate was 7.8 percent

Stop focusing on January 2009 as a “transition” date.

The real “transition” date, when the balance of power shifted from Republicans to Democrats, was NOT January 2009.

It WAS January 2007, when Democrats took control of the majority of the budget-making entities (House, Senate, and Presidency).

And in December 2006, the last month that Republicans held majority control, unemployment was 4.4% and the total national debt was under $8.7 Trillion.

Recorded unemployment, “discouraged” workers, and deficits/debt have SKYROCKETED under Democratic “leadership”.

ITguy on February 21, 2012 at 1:13 AM

I looked at some figures and found one real interesting item

Obama Jobs record.

Jan 2009
Civilian noninstitutional population 234,739,000
Civilian labor force …………….……… …153,716,000
Employment …………………….…… … 142,099,000
Unemployment ……………….…… ………11,616,000
Not in labor force ………… ……….………81,023,000
True unemployment 39.4%

Jan 2012
Civilian noninstitutional population. 242,269,000
Civilian labor force. . . . . . . . 154,395,000
Employed. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 141,637,000
Unemployed. . . . . . . . . . . .. . . 12,758,000
Not in labor force. . . . . . . . . 87,874,000
True unemployment 41.5%

Note this unemployment includes all who are not working. For a population increase of 7,530,000, the increase of employed is 679,000.

THOSE WHO HAVE LEFT THE WORKFORCE SINCE OBAMA HAS TAKEN OFFICE IS 6,851,000 workers. Source Bureau of Labor Statistics.

maddmatt on February 21, 2012 at 1:15 AM

Mr Berg, I hope I am wrong, but I believe your analysis is in error.

January 2009: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Workforce Participation rate when Obama took office was 65.7%.

The correct term is Labor Force Participation Rate. This number is the percentage of the population 16 years and older (“the cohort”) who are actually working or looking for work
(E + U)/(population 16years+). 65.7% is correct.

That means 34.3% of the workforce wasn’t even trying to participate, through discouragement, disability or whatever case applied.

Actually, that means that 34.3% of “the cohort” were neither employed nor looking for work. This includes students, retirees and stay-at-home parents, in addition to above.

Add to that the 7.8% unemployed, and you reach a figure of 57.1% of the American workforce actually working.

NO you can’t add percentages when they are percents of different things!
And, shouldn’t you subtract?
I think what you are trying to do is take 7.8% of the 65.7% who are actually working or looking for work, which comes to 5.1% of “the cohort” are unemployed. Subtracting that from the 65.7% and you are left with 60.6% of those aged 16+ are actually working.

January 2009: 65.7% minus 7.8% of 65.7% leaves 60.6% of those aged 16+ are actually working.

October 2009: 65.0% minus 10% of 65.0% leaves 58.5% of those aged 16+ are actually working.

January, 2012: 63.7% minus 8.3% of 63.7% leaves 58.4% of those aged 16+ are actually working.

That’s right: a smaller percentage of the potential labor force is employed now than at the bottom of the recession!

What recovery?

You should see what the Labor Force Participation Rate looks like on a graph! Here’s the link to the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics:
http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000

topdog on February 21, 2012 at 1:22 AM

You got this all wrong. We are at a RECORD LOW of 8.3% unemployment.

Thank you president 0bama!

Plus, 0bama said our weekly chocolate ration has been increased!!!!

jukin3 on February 21, 2012 at 1:37 AM

topdog on February 21, 2012 at 1:22 AM

I think you are right. The unemployment number is a percentage of those “participating” in the labor force.

It would be very interesting if the media consistently reported on the % of those aged 16+ who are actually working. And even that number is “inflated”, if you will, by people who are working, but are working 1 or more part-time jobs when they would rather be working 1 full-time job, if one were available.

If you subtracted the “underemployed” from you numbers, I suspect the percentage of those aged 16+ who are working 1 full-time job at a pay rate equal or greater than what they were making 5 years ago is BELOW 50%.

ITguy on February 21, 2012 at 1:42 AM

The US Department of Labor statistics for December 2006 showed that the unemployment rate was 4.4% and the number of “Discouraged Workers” (not counted in the unemployment number) was 274,000.

Now, after five years of majority Democrat control, the numbers for January 2012 show that the unemployment rate is 8.3% and the number of “Discouraged Workers” (not counted in the unemployment number) is 1,059,000.

Five years of majority Democrat control has led to reported unemployment that is nearly twice as high, and nearly four times as many “Discouraged Workers” that are not even included in the unemployment numbers.

ITguy on February 21, 2012 at 1:46 AM

maddmatt on February 21, 2012 at 1:15 AM

What you have is very interesting.
It is also interesting to look at the same figures comparing the “bottom” of the recession to now. The recession officially ended in June 2009, but unemployment rates peaked in October, and employment numbers bottomed out at 137,968,000 in December of 2009. While employment has increased since then, it has not recovered its January 2009 level (let alone its 146 million peak) nor has it kept up with population growth.

topdog on February 21, 2012 at 1:59 AM

ITguy on February 21, 2012 at 1:42 AM

I was surprised to find that average hours worked per employee ahave crept back up to previous levels.
http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/surveymost?bls
Click on the sixth check box: Total Private Average Weekly Hours of All Employees – Seasonally Adjusted – CES0500000002

Similarly, average hourly earnings have increased, though slightly less than the CPI.

topdog on February 21, 2012 at 2:17 AM

TouchdownBuddha on February 20, 2012 at

Disagree. In January 2009 the economy lost 598K jobs; in January 2012 the economy added 243K jobs. In 4Q08, GDP declined 6.2% and followed that with a 6.1% decline in 1Q09. First estimates for

And the time tween January 2009 thru January 2012?

Clearly the economy has rebounded and is in much better shape than it was 3 years ago.

Then why are half my neighbors still out of work?
Why is the fuel use at its lowest ever? Because so many people are not driving to work

First estimates for 4Q11 GDP show 2.8% growth, with a prediction of 2.5-3.0% growth for 1Q12

Have you noticed all these estimates and prediction from this admin has had to be revised due to the admin being grossly wrong?

DSchoen on February 21, 2012 at 5:22 AM

Ok, 350k per week New unemployment claims or 1.4million per month. 1.25million drop out of job market. 125k get jobs. Unemployment rate drops to 8.3%. Who is cooking the books???

cjt1957 on February 21, 2012 at 7:46 AM

The Obama administration has loosened the standards to qualify for social security disability in response to their failed economic policies. They get the benefit of votes from another expanding entitlement class and these people drop out of the labor pool so it reduces the unemployment rate. It’s a win win for Democrats.

Wigglesworth on February 21, 2012 at 8:50 AM

The U6 is the real unemployment rate…

As everyone in this thread pretty much knows, you can’t teach this to idealogs who can’t see past their entitlement check. When you don’t have skin in the game, life is good and that’s the dependent society dear leader wishes to build.

VietVet_Dave on February 20, 2012 at 7:59 PM

The U6 is manipulated too. The Emperor Zero regime has modified the calculation at least three times since 2009 and they manipulate the values going into the calculation as well.

Remember, people, these are POLITICAL STATISTICS created by a dedicated group of radical socialists.

Check out shadowstats.com

dogsoldier on February 21, 2012 at 9:09 AM

Topdog,

I’ve re-run my numbers. I’ll be posting a correction on my blog, and in the Greenroom. I’ll see if management will add it to this post.

As you note, it is actually worse news for the Administration.

Thanks for pointing it out.

Mitch Berg on February 21, 2012 at 11:27 AM

Thanks for pointing it out.

Mitch Berg on February 21, 2012 at 11:27 AM

TopDog has committed the PC offense of “spiking the ball”. Correcting an error that paints an even less positive image of Barack the First is a reportable offense under the federal guidelines of “Attack Watch”.

BobMbx on February 21, 2012 at 11:53 AM

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300000

Employment-Population ratio… not 100% the same as what you’re saying, but good enough for government work.

25+ year low in % of Americans over 16 employed (That’s what this number is)? 58.2% June/July 2011. You’re going back to 1982-1983 for a lower number.

Current number? 58.5%, we’re rising less than 0.1% per month.

Non-recession numbers, say 2006-2007? 62-64%

So we’re down around 5% from the recession start.

Oh, and that graph… pull it out further if you like… recession, recovery up & down. Except for now… now it drops and bottoms out.. hanging at the bottom for years with no recovery.

This is impressive work by the government? Only if I’m supposed to be impressed that they’ve finally figured out how to avoid ever having a recovery after a recession.

gekkobear on February 21, 2012 at 2:28 PM

We actually have a lower percentage of the work force actually working now than at the “low point” of the recession”, and two and a quarter points lower than when Obama took office.

Exactly. Let that be the new meme!
Any increase in employment has been inadequate to offset increases in the working age population.
Any decrease in the unemployment rate is the result of people leaving the workforce.
We are only treading water.

Thanks for the correction, and well put.

topdog on February 21, 2012 at 2:33 PM

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300000

gekkobear on February 21, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Awesome! That graph needs to be plastered everywhere!
One picture is worth a thousand words.

topdog on February 21, 2012 at 3:12 PM

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300000

gekkobear on February 21, 2012 at 2:28 PM

That is very useful info.

When Republicans turned over majority control to the Democrats, at the beginning of January 2007, the December 2006 numbers show that 63.4% of the Age 16+ population was employed.

After just three years of majority Democrat control, the December 2009 numbers show that number had dropped to 58.2%, and has not really improved over the last 2+ years. The highest it reached in that time was 58.7%, and it’s currently back down to 58.5%.

You are absolutely correct that we’re down around 5 points (and on a percentage basis, we’re down 8.2% (58.2%/63.4%)) from the recession start, and we’ve stagnated at the bottom for 2+ years without any recovery.

ITguy on February 21, 2012 at 3:23 PM

Mitch Berg,

To your update above,

You may want to add your analysis of the numbers from December 2006, showing what kind of economy the Democrats “inherited” from the Republicans when the Democrats took majority control (2+ out of 3) of the budget-making entities (House, Senate, and Presidency) in January 2007.

Labor Force Participation Rate in December 2006 was 66.4%

Unemployment rate in December 2006 was 4.4%

That means 66.4% – (4.4% of 66.4%) = 63.48% of the work force was working when the balance of power shifted from Republicans to Democrats.

————————

So let’s recap:

•January 2007: 63.48% of the work force was working when the balance of power shifted from Republicans to Democrats

•January 2009: 60.67% of the work force was working the day Barack Obama was inaugurated.

•October 2010 – 58.5% of the workforce at work on the month the unemployment rate supposedly bottomed.

•January 2012 – Five years after Democrats took majority control, and three years after Obama took office, with the unemployment rate right about the point where Obama said that it’d peak with Porkulus? 8.3% unemployment among a 63.7% share of the workforce still in the workforce yields 58.41% of the labor force actually working.

Are you better off now than you were 5 years ago?

ITguy on February 21, 2012 at 3:42 PM

http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS12300000

Employment-Population ratio… not 100% the same as what you’re saying, but good enough for government work.

gekkobear on February 21, 2012 at 2:28 PM

Actually it is 100% the same. This is the perfect graph! I did some checking. According to the BLS:

The employment-population ratio represents the proportion of the working-age population that is employed.

To be precise, the phrase “working-age population” is what we should be saying, as it includes discouraged workers, while “work force” or “labor force” excludes people who are not trying to work.

I want a t-shirt with that graph on it and the words “What recovery?”

topdog on February 21, 2012 at 4:02 PM