Jobless rate looks nice - until you look under hood
October 10, 2012
That’s not remotely likely as playing with the numbers to influence the election would surely come out eventually and plunge the nation in a crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen since Watergate.
A more likely possibility advanced by several economists was that the September number was a statistical quirk. If so, we should find out when the October jobless number comes out days before the election.
For all the hoopla Biden may make out of the September figure, a closer look finds the Obama economy is still miserable. The jobless rate fell because employment increased by 873,000 last month. But a whopping two-thirds of those jobs — 582,000 — were part time.
As the Bureau of Labor Statistics put it, “These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.”
Do Biden and Obama want to campaign on four more years of that?
What’s more, a 7.8 percent jobless rate is more than 2 percentage points above the 5.6 percent rate the administration predicted for this month when it promoted its $830 billion stimulus in 2009.
Some other indicators support the idea that September was a fluke. The nation’s economic growth rate has been falling for a couple of years, hitting 1.3 percent in the second quarter. Consumer spending fell in September, reports Gallup.
A survey by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce found 60 percent of small-business owners and executives say the business climate has deteriorated over the last two years, and only 17 percent expect to hire more workers next year, a number that’s been trending down this year.
And 76 percent say the costs and regulations of ObamaCare make it harder to hire more workers.
Obama and Biden may tout a nice-looking September jobless rate, but looking under the hood shows that, as James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute put it, “The U.S. labor market remains in deep depression with virtually no recovery since the official end of the Great Recession.”