William Galston, a former domestic policy adviser to President Clinton, wrote a recent piece in The New Republic which highlights three jobs-related data points:
* If Americans of working age were participating in the labor force at the same rate as they were at the onset of the recession, the labor force would be nearly 5 million people larger, and unemployment would be significantly worse in both absolute and percentage terms.
* Total employment remains more than 5.5 million below the level of 2007 and about 1.6 million below where it was when President Obama took office.
* To regain full employment (which Galston pegs at 5 percent, the same as the level when the recession began) with the pre-recessionary labor force participation rate, we would need 150.7 million jobs or more than 10 million more than we have today.
We’re now two-and-a-half years into the recovery, which must now rank as among the most anemic in our history. Ronald Reagan inherited an economy that was sicker than Obama did — and at this juncture in his presidency the economy was roaring back. During the Obama era, on the other hand, we remain essentially flat on our backs. We’ve even reached the point where a jobs report that shows more than two-and-a-half times more people are dropping out of the labor force than are being hired is considered good news.
I’ll let you draw the appropriate conclusions.