Back on Oct. 11, the federal government reported that weekly jobless claims were down significantly, suggesting a dramatic national increase in economic growth and a steep decline in layoffs. The Labor Department reported that claims had fallen by 30,000 to 339,000, their lowest level since February 2008. That is, until the federal government finally revealed that California had, in fact, under-reported jobless data, skewing the national jobless claims results. The following week’s updated jobs report corrected the error and showed unemployment claims spiking back up by 46,000 to 388,000.
In the final jobs report before the election, 171,000 new jobs were created, but the U-3 unemployment rate crept slightly upwards again. As the Bureau of Labor Statistic points out in their latest report, the number of unemployed persons remained essentially unchanged at 12.3 million, telling us in layman’s terms that nothing positive has really happened for unemployed Americans, under the Obama Economy.
Here are a few statistics, relative to Obama’s tenure as President:
•Unemployment rate for blacks increased to 14.3 percent.
•Long term unemployed (27 weeks or more) was little changed at 5.0 million (40.6 percent of the unemployed.)
•Civilian labor force grew by 578,000 to 155.6 million.
•Labor Force Participation rate edged up to 63.8 percent.
•Total employment rose by 410,000.
The U6 unemployment rate counts not only people without work seeking full-time employment (the more familiar U-3 rate), but also counts “marginally attached workers and those working part-time for economic reasons.” Note that some of these part-time workers counted as employed by U-3 could be working as little as an hour a week. And the “marginally attached workers” include those who have gotten discouraged and stopped looking, but still want to work. The age considered for this calculation is 16 years and over. U6 unemployment saw very little change. Moving from 14.7% after September, to 14.6% today.
That 14.7% U6 unemployment figure is the number you really want to pay attention to.
When Obama first took office, the U-6 rate was at 14.2 percent after the Democrats had held majorities in both Houses for the previous 2 years. Six months ago it was at 14.5 percent. So what we’re seeing in the Obama Presidency is VERY stagnant unemployment, creeping slowly higher. Obama originally predicted that the unemployment rate would be at 5.2 percent at this point in the year, or he would be a One Term President.
Will this jobs report play a factor in the election? The Obama administration will brag about adding the 171,000 new jobs to their lackluster total, and Team Romney will point out how weak the recovery has been and that the unemployment rate actually went up, but the only thing that matters at this point in the game is what undecided voters think.
It is very difficult to see this helping Obama in any way, shape or form. Far more likely is that a few undecided voters will see another lackluster jobs report, where the unemployment rate nudged upwards again, and start leaning to the Romney side. Early Voting shows Independent voters are leaning Romney in most States, by an average margin of 7%.
Since the debates began, Obama has been bragging about how Romney’s math is wrong and how the numbers don’t add up. It’s now very clear that Obama’s math isn’t adding up, in any fashion, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to get any better.
The Labor Force Participation rate is still very near 30 year lows at 63.8 percent, and unemployment is still far higher than Obama predicted. The number of unemployed workers is still far too high while showing no signs of real sustained improvement, at any point over the last few years. If you’re an undecided voter who needs a reason to finally decide, just be aware that the unemployment numbers have NOT substantially improved; They’ve gotten worse. Four more years of this is National Economic Suicide.
Four more days is about all we can survive.