Friday, February 3, 2012


The latest unemployment numbers are out today, and the unemployment rate has dropped to a heartening 8.3%.  No doubt there are lots of happy dances in the White House today.  But, as with most things in this administration, things are not as they appear.  While the administration touts the more than two hundred and fifty thousand jobs created in January, a deeper look at the numbers tells a different story.

Here are some other numbers to consider before breaking out into a happy dance of your own:

1.2 million is our first number.  That is the number of people who dropped out of the work force entirely last month.  That's a record, by the way.

63.7% is the rate of participation in the job sector - also a record.  And not in a good way - which brings us to....

30, which represents the thirty-year low we have reached in work force participation.  We haven't had this few people in the work force since 1982, when the US population was a hundred million people fewer. 
In reality, counting all the people who have dropped out of the work force, unemployment is at about eleven percent.  Add in all the people who are working part-time jobs because they can't find anything else, and you're looking at an unemployment/underemployment rate north of fifteen percent.  But hey, Mr. President, happy dance it up!

Just for fun, let's see where those people who dropped out of the workforce have gone over the past three years.  Well, it seems a lot of them have managed to make their way to the food stamp line, where we have a record 46.3 million Americans.  That's up significantly from the 28.2 million Americans who were on food stamps when President Obama took office.  One in seven Americans are now enrolled in the program.

How about Welfare?  Well, since Obama repealed the major welfare reforms of the 1990's, it's on the rise.  This isn't going to change anytime soon, either, as states are once again being paid to add recipients to the welfare rolls. 

Oh, and almost half of the jobs gained were "low wage" jobs.  Which is better than nothing, to be sure, but when we're losing high-paying jobs and replacing them with low wage jobs, that doesn't bode well for the economy.

False numbers, false hope, false change.  That's all we have here.  Still in the mood for a happy dance?



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