For the last 38 months, the heaviest issue weighing on the hearts and minds of Americans has been the economy. Rock-bottom demand, millions of foreclosures, and skyrocketing fuel costs have all taken their toll on the American psyche, but the most worrisome facet of the Obama economy for most families has been the prospect of unemployment. Democrats have insisted that since they took office they’ve reduced unemployment from a record high of 10.2 to a more manageable 8%, meaning 92% of working-age Americans have a job – a remarkably deceptive claim.
The unemployment figures we see in media reports don’t give us an accurate picture of just how widespread the epidemic of American joblessness has become. That’s because the unemployment rate only considers people who applied for a job in the last four weeks as unemployed. How many of your friends, who could be earning extra money working a summer job, are choosing to do other things instead because they can’t get hired? None of them are counted as unemployed – but they still want a job. If they had a job, they could spend their extra cash at restaurants or on video games, further stimulating the economy. But instead, they’ll stay at home, since they don’t have to have a job with their parents paying for their essentials.
Since the unemployment rate is much higher than the 8% the president pegs it at, we can’t simply subtract it from 100 and say 92% of Americans have a job. To find out the real number of working Americans, we need to dig a little deeper. As it turns out, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics actually does track how many able-bodied Americans have a job. They do a monthly survey called the Labor Force Participation Survey and present it with the monthly unemployment numbers when they come out. I’ll never know why the media continues to gloss over this number. Maybe it’s because it’s gotten worse pretty much every month Obama’s been in office?
The “Inconvenient Truth” about the economy is a lot clearer looking at these figures. Only 64% of Americans who could be working are doing so (the rest are either unemployed or gave up looking for work to live off of someone else). That’s down from a pre-recession level of more than 66% – which means true unemployment has gone up 2.5% since Obama took office! And yet, what do we hear on the news? “Jobless rates decline steadily to 8%…”
Either because it’s easier to use misleading unemployment rates or for more sinister and manipulative reasons, politicians have decided to ignore the fact that 36% of Americans who could be working aren’t. This doesn’t include babies or retirees, just discouraged, working-aged Americans who’ve chosen to stay home because they can’t find a job. In the Bush years this number was somewhat high too, but under Obama it’s shot up.
So whenever you hear your friends say the unemployment picture is clearing up for the Democrats, just refer them to this chart to remind them things aren’t as rosy as the left would like us to think.