More bad news for the president, as yet another lackluster jobs report was announced this morning.
After a severe recession, job growth is normally quite strong. We are now 40 months into a recovery, but job growth is only about a quarter what it has been during the average recovery since 1970.
Unemployment rose up to 7.9 percent. Jobs are being created, 171,000 of them, but the pace is still just keeping up with the growing working age population. With 209,000 working-age people added to the labor force last month, 133,000 jobs were needed just to tread water and keep the same percentage of the population working. 38,000 net new jobs is good, but it is trivial in a country where the civilian work force amounts to 156 million.
The unemployment rate is back up to what it was when Barack Obama became president. To put it differently, while 194,000 more people are at work now than in January 2009, our population has grown and there are now 8,822,000 more working-age people. Unfortunately, most of that difference represents people who have simply given up looking for work and now classified as: “not in the labor force.”
No wonder real median family income keeps falling each year during the “recovery.”
Worse, as Austan Goolsbee, President Obama’s former chair of the Counsel of Economic Advisors, used to warn us: “one month is not a trend." Over the last six months, private sector job growth is 33 percent slower than it was during the preceding six months. The average number of jobs during the last six months hasn’t kept up with the growing population.
When Obama became president he promised NBC’s Matt Lauer in February 2009:
"A year from now, I think people are going to see that we're starting to make some progress, butthere's still going to be some pain out there. If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition."
But even with a year extension, Obama hasn’t made the deadline. This is a president who has been telling us for four years that the jobs recovery was just around the corner. Now this week we are being told that “Now, we knew from the beginning that our work would take more than one year, or even one term.”
Obama can't even own up and acknowledge his promises.
Unfortunately, much of the media has been in the tank for Obama downplaying any problems and pointing to any good news possible. Last month the unemployment rate fell, but job growth was very weak and clearly didn’t keep up with population growth. So what did headlines tout? Of course, the drop in the unemployment rate was the only thing mentioned in most headlines.
New York Times: “Drop in Jobless Figure Gives Jolt to Race for President”
CNNMoney: “Unemployment rate tumbles”
But what is reported when the unemployment rate rose this month?
New York Times: “US Added 171,000 Jobs in October” before it was changed to "Modest Growth in Jobs Seen in Final Report Before Election"
Chicago Tribune: “171,000 Jobs Added in October”
Compare that to the more balanced headline at Fox News which read: “US economy adds 171,000 jobs in October; unemployment rate ticks up to 7.9 percent.”
Obviously, much of the mainstream media avoids reporting the whole jobs market picture but rather cherry picks numbers to cast Obama in a good light right before the election.
One suspects if Obama was a Republican, the media would be having a field day over some of his recent comments. The only new proposal Obama is offering is to create a "Secretary of Business" cabinet position. Perhaps it isn't too surprising that Obama seems unaware that he already has such a position called the "Secretary of Commerce." Even worse, while Obama is proposing a second cabinet position to handle the same job, his lack of seriousness is seen in the fact that the Commerce position has been vacant for four months and the president hasn't even nominated someone to run the department.
Obama's failed predictions matter. He has kept on proposing more of the same policies and never explained why he thinks that things will work out differently this next time. The president should be evaluated by the promises that he made to get elected.