If Obama economists had known the economic recovery would be so weak the past two years, they might have expected a much, much higher unemployment rate. In November of 2010, the Congressional Budget Office predicted the labor force participation rate would be roughly 65.5% in 2012, even though it saw GDP growth of 1.9% in 2011, accelerating after that. Everything else being equal, a participation rate that high today would translate into a 2012 unemployment rate of 10.6%.
But the impact of such a weak recovery has resulted in a historically weak labor market where so many folks have given up that it has driven the official unemployment rate to 8.2% rather than 10.6%.
Bottom line: The $800 billion stimulus does not seem to have produced the sort of economic growth — less than 2% instead of over 4% — that was predicted, raising serious question about whether another round should be tried, as the White House and some left-of-center economics contend.