Joblessness during prime working years worst in 23 years

posted at 9:21 am on May 30, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Supporters of Barack Obama point to the overall jobless rate and its slow decline to argue that his economic policies have worked, and just need more time to bring back widespread prosperity.  Opponents point to U-6 numbers and the actual number of net jobs created in his term (hint: less than zero) to argue that Obamanomics has been a failure.  Who has the better argument?  Consider a new analysis from the Washington Post, which shows just how bad the jobs situation has been all along:

The proportion of Americans in their prime working years who have jobs is smaller than it has been at any time in the 23 years before the recession, according to federal statistics, reflecting the profound and lasting effects that the downturn has had on the nation’s economic prospects.

By this measure, the jobs situation has improved little in recent years. The percentage of workers between the ages of 25 and 54 who have jobs now stands at 75.7 percent, just a percentage point over what it was at the downturn’s worst, according to federal statistics.

Before the recession the proportion hovered at 80 percent.

This captures the “missing workers” phenomenon, which the topline jobless rate ignores, and shows how poorly this recovery has performed.  Even if one counts from the beginning of the recovery rather than from the beginning of Obama’s term, we have added 3.087 million private-sector jobs in the last 34 months, for an average of 90,079 jobs added per month — too low to keep up with population growth, which adds around 120,000 workforce-eligible adults each month.  We aren’t even really treading water but falling behind slightly over that period.

As Peter Whoriskey hints, this has significant long-term implications for the American economy and policy, emphasis mine:

During their prime years, Americans are supposed to be building careers and wealth to prepare for their retirement. Instead, as the indicator reveals, huge numbers are on the sidelines. …

The falloff has been sharpest for men, for whom the proportion had been on a slow decline before the recession. The percentage of prime-age men who are working is smaller now than it has been in any time before the recession, going all the way back to 1948, according to federal statistics. The proportion of prime-age [working] women is at a low not seen since 1988.

What happens when this lost generation hits retirement age?  They will not have acquired the wealth needed to retire; some of them might not have acquired the experience needed to support themselves as senior citizens in jobs, either.  We will be facing either a public-assistance bomb or a generation that spent half of its time dependent on their parents and the other half dependent on their children.  Likely it will be a mix of both.

Obamanomics is not working.  The mix of economic and regulatory policy of this administration has been toxic to job creation.  It’s time for a new direction.


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Jobs Death Camps

Electrongod on May 30, 2012 at 9:24 AM

FORWARD!

smfic on May 30, 2012 at 9:24 AM

It’s time for a new direction.

New president first….

How many days?

160?

Electrongod on May 30, 2012 at 9:25 AM

The percentage of workers between the ages of 25 and 54 who have jobs now stands at 75.7 percent, just a percentage point over what it was at the downturn’s worst, according to federal statistics.

Oh, don’t worry. People will have to work waaaaay past the age of 54 in order to make ends meet.

Doughboy on May 30, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Instead of focusing so much on a lack of opportunity, perhaps it’s time to point out that a lot of these people are entitled, lazy, and unskilled. Many of these people are completely useless.

jhffmn on May 30, 2012 at 9:26 AM

“Obamanomics is not working. The mix of economic and regulatory policy of this administration has been toxic to job creation. It’s time for a new direction.”

I don’t think I can stand another Krugman article about how Oblabla has not gone far enough and that’s the reason it failed. Maybe in a few years he’ll wake up and realize that it worked exactly as intended, horribly.

smfic on May 30, 2012 at 9:27 AM

“MR. BLUTARSKY… zero point zero.”

search4truth on May 30, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Krugman was only off by 3,000,000 jobs, give or take a few hundred thousand:

http://fiscalwars.wordpress.com/2012/05/30/memory-lane-with-paul-krugman-and-a-snifter-of-brandy/

http://www.fiscalwars.wordpress.com

stout77 on May 30, 2012 at 9:31 AM

Mr obama was elected to manage the decline of America.

You proud democrat voters?

tom daschle concerned on May 30, 2012 at 9:34 AM

But, I mean, Obama inherited all this from Bush, right?

We’ve got to give Obama time for his policies to work!

He needs at least four terms before we judge his performance, because the problems that Boooosh left him were far worse than he ever anticipated.

fossten on May 30, 2012 at 9:34 AM

…so when is the MSM going to get on board?
.
.
.
…it’s the ECONOMY stupid…!!!

KOOLAID2 on May 30, 2012 at 9:34 AM

If the MSM starts giving proper attention to the employment rate instead of the bogus unemployment rate, the election won’t go well for the One.

forest on May 30, 2012 at 9:35 AM

I just want you to all know how racist you are for pointing out facts against our dear leader “Obama” policies. I hope the Green shirts find out where all of you live.

cmptrnerd on May 30, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Yeah, but it’s funemployment!

The Rogue Tomato on May 30, 2012 at 9:38 AM

Romney needs to promise to issue pink slips to Obama and Biden.

Until those two jackasses get fired, America stays (at best) stuck in neutral.

NoDonkey on May 30, 2012 at 9:39 AM

“MR. BLUTARSKY… zero point zero.”

search4truth on May 30, 2012 at 9:28 AM

Double secret probation

RDE2010 on May 30, 2012 at 9:43 AM

You don’t understand! Mine goes to eleven, ELEVEN.
Barry “Choom Choom” 0bama

jukin3 on May 30, 2012 at 9:47 AM

tom daschle concerned on May 30, 2012 at 9:34 AM

…good to see you…we thought you tripped and fell last night! (:->)

KOOLAID2 on May 30, 2012 at 9:47 AM

This is certainly unexpected.

rightside on May 30, 2012 at 9:49 AM

We have more important things to discuss, did you know Donald Trump thinks that Barack Obama wasn’t born in the U.S.?

NoDonkey on May 30, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Businesses arent hiring until they know the impact of Obamacare, their tax situation becomes clear, and the real estate market economy starts truly trending up, and real energy solutions are pursued. Long term planning is impossible.

ldbgcoleman on May 30, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Obamanomics is not working. The mix of economic and regulatory policy of this administration has been toxic to job creation. It’s time for a new direction.

This should be Romney’s message in every single speech.

Happy Nomad on May 30, 2012 at 9:51 AM

This demographic group seems particularly inclined to “drop out of the workforce”, or “stop looking for jobs”. Most of the job recruiters we talk to indicate that the majority of the resumes they receive are from people with little or no experience, or people with 20+ years of experience. It could be that this “middle group” is more inclined to drop out of traditional career paths and move in new directions, e.g. start their own business or return to school for more education, during tough economic times. Another factor may be home ownership (or more accurately, home equity); people in this demographic are less likely to be mobile – open to relocation – because of their housing situation. Younger people (who do not own homes yet) or older workers (who have significant home equity and thus can afford to sell) may be more likely to re-locate, and thus more likely to find jobs.

Either way, the economy is likely to face continued (and new) headwinds for years to come, so don’t look for major improvement in this participation rate any time soon.

TouchdownBuddha on May 30, 2012 at 9:56 AM

“Obamanomics is not working. The mix of economic and regulatory policy of this administration has been toxic to job creation. It’s time for a new direction.”

I don’t think I can stand another Krugman article about how Oblabla has not gone far enough and that’s the reason it failed. Maybe in a few years he’ll wake up and realize that it worked exactly as intended, horribly.

smfic on May 30, 2012 at 9:27 AM

He loves to talk about WW2 as the poster-child for government spending, yet he never acknowledges the difference in the way the money was spent. On the one hand, we invested a great deal in ridding the world of Nazis, which turned out to be a pretty good investment. It created an atmosphere in which commerce could be freely conducted. On the other hand, the 2009 stimulus package went mostly to plugging state budget gaps. This was an investment with a maximum return of zero for the country as a whole. It was simply the return of investment on spending that had already taken place and “benefits” that had already been felt. At its core it was a capital injection into previous investments that were already hemorrhaging money. It never had a chance to succeed, but it did put money in the pockets of certain Americans. Unfortunately it was only temporary and it was at the expense of other Americans rather than from any wise investment on Uncle Sam’s part. Krugman is a joke, as the link in my previous post points out.

http://www.fiscalwars.wordpress.com

stout77 on May 30, 2012 at 9:57 AM

If the MSM starts giving proper attention to the employment rate instead of the bogus unemployment rate, the election won’t go well for the One.

They won’t do that until Romney is sworn in. The day after we’ll start seeing stories about “real” unemployment numbers, food pantries, the homeless, and old people forced to eat dogfood.

RobertE on May 30, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Businesses arent hiring until they know the impact of Obamacare, their tax situation becomes clear, and the real estate market economy starts truly trending up, and real energy solutions are pursued. Long term planning is impossible.

ldbgcoleman on May 30, 2012 at 9:49 AM

How about the proggies’ push for ‘micro-unions’? If I was thinking of starting up a new company, that alone would give me the incentive to lie low for a few months.

slickwillie2001 on May 30, 2012 at 10:03 AM

Obamanomics is not working. The mix of economic and regulatory policy of this administration has been toxic to job creation. It’s time for a new direction.

It is deeper than that. But it would require social commentary, then a vigorous defense against weird, incomprehensible attacks for daring to make social commentary when all that matters is tax rates — and I skipped breakfast.

They won’t do that until Romney is sworn in. The day after we’ll start seeing stories about “real” unemployment numbers, food pantries, the homeless, and old people forced to eat dogfood.

RobertE on May 30, 2012 at 10:02 AM

The economic recovery will suddenly stall and reverse?

That would be … unexpected.

/

Axe on May 30, 2012 at 10:09 AM

Joblessness during prime working years worst in 23 years

Here is the actual Washington Post title: “Job recovery is scant for Americans in prime working years.”

Every radical liberal media source keeps the same drumbeat going constantly. The consistently unprecedented record lows are buried in the gibberish. The headline always blares “recovery” this and “recovery” that.

The recovery is always recovering just a little bit slower than we were all told it would last month. And then we’re always told that next month the recovery will be recovering at the pace we were told it would recover last month, and the month before that, and the month before that….

This has been going on for YEARS now. George Orwell was wrong; this kind of mass inodtrination doesn’t require gigantic torture chambers and secret police in every bedroom. Propaganda technology has progressed to the point where liberals can re-write the minds of half the population every few weeks just through repetition alone.

logis on May 30, 2012 at 10:12 AM

On the other hand, the 2009 stimulus package went mostly to plugging state budget gaps. This was an investment with a maximum return of zero for the country as a whole. It was simply the return of investment on spending that had already taken place and “benefits” that had already been felt.

stout77 on May 30, 2012 at 9:57 AM

Actually it was a kickback to public sector unions. And, reading in the green room that the NEA has lost 150,000 members in the last two years shows just how ineffectual this kind of “investment” has been.

Happy Nomad on May 30, 2012 at 10:19 AM

The mix of economic and regulatory policy of this administration has been toxic to job creation.

Yep…a mighty potent cocktail that has made for one helluva hangover. Half-wits are just as perilous to this country as any other evil.

To our elected officials…
“If your brains were dynamite there wouldn’t be enough to blow your hat off.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

lynncgb on May 30, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Hmmm, looks exactly like what I wrote about here:
http://www.conservativecommune.com/2012/05/number-checking-jobs-and-labor-participation-rate/

The labor participation rate for men in prime earning years has been a long slide downward since 1948, but accelerated since 2008. Women have also seen a decline, but not as severe. The mancession is very apparent when you look at the stats (BLS data series LNU01300061).

meep on May 30, 2012 at 10:28 AM

Oh noes! There must be an exclamation for this! Our Dear leader could not have caused this. Quick! Let’s ask him! What! He’s out on the golf course and has a fundraiser this evening? No problem. We’ll just ask Jay Carney.

Hey, Jay, waddya say?

..uh..er..um..hammina..hammina..hammina..

The War Planner on May 30, 2012 at 10:38 AM

Oh noes! There must be an exclamation for this!

The War Planner on May 30, 2012 at 10:38 AM

lol

er, stealing it.

Axe on May 30, 2012 at 11:08 AM

She Works Hard For The Money, But Democrat Senators Pay Her Less Than Her Male Co-Workers

http://predicthistunpredictpast.blogspot.com/2012/05/she-works-hard-for-money-but-democrat.html

Resist We Much on May 30, 2012 at 11:37 AM

I have two sons.
Paid dearly for their ‘public education’ while sending them to a private prep school. Then, paid dearly for their BS degrees.
One in Ecology & Environmental Biology … not an easy curriculum BTW.
The younger with a BS in Chemistry.
He wants to be an Analytical Chemist.
Now in their late 20′s still looking for employment that is even close to their educations.
I warned them that even with technical degrees they’ll have a tought time.
As with me, they’ve got the wrong plumbing and the wrong paint job.
But since 2008 it all comes down to this:
And we can all thank King Putt – The Prince of Hopium.
Barry Soetoro Barack Hussein Obowmao – President Downgrade

Missilengr on May 30, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Obamanomics is not working. The mix of economic and regulatory policy of this administration has been toxic to job creation. It’s time for a new direction.

I agree. What makes this especially egregious is the regime trying to hide the reality of the unemployment situation.

There are 89 Million people that are no longer in the workforce.

Obama and the dems do not care one bit about the misery he and they are causing. He said that sometimes her forgets. In reality, he doesn’t think about it at all. In his mind the economy is booming.

dogsoldier on May 30, 2012 at 12:04 PM

Instead of focusing so much on a lack of opportunity, perhaps it’s time to point out that a lot of these people are entitled, lazy, and unskilled. Many of these people are completely useless.

jhffmn on May 30, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Moby! What you up to Moby?

Duuuude, you got to act a little more in the know than that, my brother.

These folks have wised up to the idea of someone coming in and throwing out lines from the people playing Republicans on old episodes of “The West Wing”.

Chill & choom for a bit.

PolAgnostic on May 30, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Instead of focusing so much on a lack of opportunity, perhaps it’s time to point out that a lot of these people are entitled, lazy, and unskilled. Many of these people are completely useless.

I take a bit of offense to that. My husband has been unemployed for two years. He’s got training in electronics and semi-conductors. Those jobs were all outsourced overseas. He went back to school for HVAC and Air Conditioning. All those jobs that were due to open are being occupied by those who can no longer afford to retire. Now he’s in school again for another trade. He’s not lazy, has skills, but the job just are not there.

amasimp on May 30, 2012 at 1:46 PM

amasimp on May 30, 2012 at 1:46 PM

That was just someone trolling.

“a bit of offense” — you must be exceedingly polite. :) And sorry your family is having a difficult time. It’s just a season.

Axe on May 30, 2012 at 2:32 PM

The new normal.

Dominion on May 30, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Instead of focusing so much on a lack of opportunity, perhaps it’s time to point out that a lot of these people are entitled, lazy, and unskilled. Many of these people are completely useless.

jhffmn on May 30, 2012 at 9:26 AM

Well, I agree. Positions in blog trolling are not for everyone…

Archivarix on May 30, 2012 at 2:46 PM

What happens when this lost generation hits retirement age? They will not have acquired the wealth needed to retire; some of them might not have acquired the experience needed to support themselves as senior citizens in jobs, either. We will be facing either a public-assistance bomb or a generation that spent half of its time dependent on their parents and the other half dependent on their children. Likely it will be a mix of both.

It’s going to get very, very bad before, and if there is, a true economic turnaround. Crime and suicide rates are going to go higher.

Jurisprudence on May 30, 2012 at 3:04 PM

What’s going to happen is that many people are going to spend their retirement years in poverty. That’s what is going to happen to my husband and me and our disabled daughter unless our son decides he needs to help us (which he might because we are an extremely close Christian family). And I would hate to see him take on that burden. If he can get a job after he finishes college in our area he may move in with us (which would eliminate rent and utility payments for him) and we might pool all our resources, with him and his sister getting the house after we die.

My husband and I are over 50, both unemployed, and we keep getting passed over for other applicants who are younger and/or have “more recent work experience”. We are living off of my husband’s meager military retirement, our savings, and handouts from relatives. And of course things cannot continue this way indefinitely.

sherrimae on May 30, 2012 at 10:18 PM

Prime earning years employment down?

Well, I just heard that those of us unemployed in my demo (over 55) have only a 6% chance of finding a job in any given 2-month period.

That makes this job search s-o-o-o-o-o much more encouraging.

eeyore on May 30, 2012 at 11:03 PM