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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