White House: That jobs report shows the awesome recovery continues, or something

posted at 12:01 pm on September 7, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Well, what else can they say?  The Obama administration keeps pointing to the fact that we haven’t had a negative jobs report since early in his presidency, but that only means something if we have negative population growth.  We’re not keeping up with that factor, not in 29 months, not in 39 months, and certainly not in the 44 months that Barack Obama has been in office.  So, when the BLS hands you lemons month after month after month, what choice do you have but to make lemonade?  The White House leads off its reaction to the August jobs report by insisting that we’re still moving, er, forward (via John Nolte):

While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.

Let’s revisit the trends over the last three-plus years of recovery to test this idea of “dig[ging] our way out of the deep hole,” because that’s readily testable — and especially in imagery.  First, let’s look at the 14-year trend for the employment-population ratio from the BLS, using their own graph:

See any hint of digging out of that hole yet?  Neither do I.  Next, let’s take a look at the civilian participation rate over the last 14 years:

These two charts measure the workforce as a percentage of the population — which accounts for population growth as well as job creation.  Both are not only dropping, the civilian participation rate dropped faster and farther during the recovery than it did during the recession.

Those aren’t the only charts that disprove the White House spin, either.  James Pethokoukis provides a look at average hourly earnings for non-supervisory workers over the last 27 years in terms of year-on-year percentage increases — and this recovery has been worse than the recessions that preceded it:

James also notes that Citibank calls the past year’s 1.7% increase in the past year a tie for  “the slowest pace on record.”

John Lott recalls Obama’s promise to fix the issue in three years or be a one-term President and says he lost the bet:

With the release Friday morning of the August job numbers, there are still 261,000 fewer Americans employed than when Obama became president. Almost a million — 822,000 — fewer Americans have permanent jobs.

And we have fewer jobs despite there being many more Americans than four years ago. There are now over 8.4 million more working age Americans. Normally about 60 percent of the working age population have jobs. Thus, it would have been necessary to add about 130,000 jobs each month just to keep the share of the working age population employed from falling.

The middle and upper income jobs lost during the recession are being replaced lower-wage jobs during Obama’s recovery. Middle income occupations accounted for 60 percent of the jobs lost from the first quarter of 2008 to first quarter of 2010, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been in lower-wage occupations. While we have lost jobs in skilled construction, real estate, and supervisors, most new jobs are in retail sales and food preparation. …

At the beginning of his administration, Obama promised: “If I don’t have this done in three years, then there’s gonna be a one-term proposition.” Mr. President your time for excuses ended months ago.

We aren’t digging our way out of holes.  As the charts above show, we seem to be digging them deeper under the current set of policies.  It wasn’t all that long ago, Buzzfeed’s Andrew Kaczynski reminds us, that a certain Democrat insisted that a jobs report showing more than three times as many added jobs was a disappointment and an indicator of bad economic policy:

Talk about digging holes! Today’s response from the Obama White House deserves a Chip Diller Award for sheer chutzpah:


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Wow… this is a BFD !!!

Axion on September 7, 2012 at 3:18 PM

Wow! That graph perfectly tracks with my knowledge of political reality since 9/11. Look closely at it and many things jump out.

Both graph one and graph two have drastic changes at almost the exact same dates.

Both show a drastic drop-off right after the 2000 election, and then an almost equally abrupt spike up into 2001. The second chart shows a bigger spike than the first.

Then both charts fall off a cliff in late 2001. They bottom out in late ’03 or early ’04 and start rising again after the ’04 election.

then in 2007, Democrats take control of congress. The economy takes one look at Pelosi and jumps off a cliff, only to tread water for about a year, until it became apparent that Obama was about to be President and Democrats had huge majorities in both houses. Coincidentally, we had a gigantic credit crisis at exactly that time.

Finally, in late 2009 the economy went spiking back up suddenly on both charts. Coincidentally The Obamacared debate and the Tea Party are both beginning to gain national attention.

In early 2010, the Tea Party fails and Obamacare is signed into law. The economy has tucked tail and cowered ever since.

If you flipped either one of these graphs upside down I’d bet one dollar that it would look like a graph of gas and food prices. Close enough for government work, anyway.

If Obama and Reid are not sent packing in November, we will see another cliff. We might see one regardless of what happens in our little world of American politics. Israel might decide that they need to plant a mushroom farm in Iran regardless of who wins. Obama could just decide to veto an extension of the tax rates out of spite after losing the election.

Mord on September 7, 2012 at 3:31 PM

So I took the 2 graphs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and overlaid them with party control of the presidency, senate, and house.

Check out the resulting graphs here:


J. Max Wilson on September 7, 2012 at 3:56 PM


One worker enters, as FOUR workers leave!

Sorry, i forgot who I stole that from. Someone else deserves credit for that.

gekkobear on September 7, 2012 at 4:32 PM

Historic Baths: Cleopatra’s and the 2012 DNC’s!!! After this week, Team Obama’s poll numbers will be going down the drain.

Mutnodjmet on September 7, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Take the Employment-Population ratio data from 1977 to present, use Microsoft Excel to average the monthly numbers for each Presidency, and then sort them.

Here’s the ranking of average Employment-Population ratio by Presidency:

63.4% Clinton Presidency (January 1993 – December 2000)
62.7% G.W.Bush Presidency (January 2001 – December 2008)
62.2% G.H.W.Bush Presidency (January 1989 – December 1992)
59.9% Reagan Presidency (January 1981 – December 1988)
59.1% Carter Presidency (January 1977- December 1980)
58.7% Obama Presidency (January 2009 – July 2012)

Obama is officially worse than Carter.

And the August 2012 numbers, at 58.3, were four-tenths of a point below Obama’s own average. He hasn’t been above his average since August 2009.

Each and every month of the Obama Presidency has “featured” an Employment-Population ratio that was lower than it ever was under President George W. Bush.

The worst month under Bush was better than the best month under Obama.

ITguy on September 8, 2012 at 12:57 AM

worst downturn since the Great Depression.

I am so sick of this line. Also the Obutthead claim that he inherited y the worst economy since the great depression. What do you call the 10.1% unemployment, double digit inflation, and 19% prime i nterest rate that Reagan inherited?

NOMOBO on September 8, 2012 at 11:45 AM

I can’t forgive the evil Obummer and his party either. They want to cut off all health care to my disabled child. What kind of future will she have if we run out of money and cannot pay for her health care privately? And he has destroyed the future of all our children with huge debt and killing the job market. I don’t even know what to advise my son to study in college. I’m not sure what fields will have jobs when he graduates.

sherrimae on September 10, 2012 at 9:13 AM