Green Room

This Is Your “Obama Recovery”

posted at 12:05 pm on February 20, 2012 by

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…


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.

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Thanks for framing this imnportant issue, Mitch. If we don’t let people get back to work, we will never have an economic recovery.

Yet Obama’s policies are the reason people can’t get back to work. Not drilling, inducing energy prices to skyrocket, adding Obamacare and a host of other costly regulations, persisting with grotesque levels of deficit spending, which keeps financial markets alarmed and on edge and ensures small-to-medium-size businesses won’t take risks and no one will lend to them anyway — everything Obama has done has suppressed economic activity and meant less business expansion and fewer jobs.

There will be no economic recovery until he has departed office. Any suggestions to the contrary in the MSM will be lies.

J.E. Dyer on February 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM

I have a son who works at a large distribution facility for Bunzl a worldwide company that supplies a wide array of paper products to business and industry. They have gone from working 5 days a week down to 1-2 days a week. They have not seen a slow down like this EVER. Paper products (including corrugated boxes) are usually the first products to indicate the economy is slowing down.

wtng2fish on February 20, 2012 at 1:01 PM

IIRC the Obamunists claimed Porkulus would keep the unemployment rate below 8%.

single stack on February 20, 2012 at 2:15 PM

… Not drilling…

J.E. Dyer on February 20, 2012 at 12:24 PM

I’ll highlight simply those two words there.

I live in North Dakota. In my state they started drilling in the Bakken Shale deposits. The results are as follows:

– We have 3.2% unemployment, and there are “Now Hiring for ALL Positions” signs everywhere.
– McDonald’s is paying a starting hourly wage of $9 for the lowliest fry cook.
– There is a 6 month backup of already sold houses that are under construction. We literally can’t build houses fast enough.
– Related to the above point, the home and commercial construction businesses are going like gangbusters. Every construction company owner I know says they can’t find enough people to fill all the work they have lined up.
– Sales of existing homes are on fire. In the city of Bismarck the normal number of houses on the market at any given time was 600. It is now less than 100. Houses are selling in less than a week, if not days. The house I just bought was on the market for two days, and I had to offer the full asking price to secure it.

All of that is happening in the middle of a recession and the downside of a housing bubble.

Why has not one GOP candidate pointed to North Dakota as a prime example of what happens, even in a recession, when you unleash business upon our own natural resources??

gravityman on February 20, 2012 at 5:15 PM

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Comments have been closed on this post but the discussion continues here.

Allahpundit on February 20, 2012 at 11:29 PM


I’m a Jamestown native, and I’ve been amazed at what all the action on the Bakken has done for the state that was sooooo very sleepy and depressed when I left in 1985.

Great symptom? I was driving past a manufactured housing plant in the NW suburbs of the Twin Cities. There was a HUGE banner out front; “WE SHIP TO NORTH DAKOTA”.

Goodness knows they’re not shipping any in Minnesota, least of all MInneapolis or Saint Paul

Libs like to say “Well, of COURSE ND is doing well – they found oil!” Right – just like they found it in Louisiana. And California. And look at where it got them! Wise, limited government counts for as much as natural wealth.

Of course, the leftymedis in the Cities is working overtime to try to point out all the downsides of life in the Bakken. High rents, roads wearing out, the rough life in the man camps in the winter.

I tell ’em “come back in time to the prairie in 1984, with double-digit unemployment and people seriously talking “buffalo commons”; debate me then”.

Mitch Berg on February 20, 2012 at 7:24 PM

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