Commentary Magazine


Contentions

A Very Ugly Jobs Report

I wanted to add to John’s fine summary of today’s jobs report.

It really is a very ugly set of data.

It’s not simply that unemployment has been above 8 percent for a record 39 months, which is bad enough. While news stories report that 115,000 new jobs were added in April, the true picture is much worse. More than 340,000 Americans dropped out of the labor force last month. The total employment level for April fell 169,000. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, who is hardly a conservative and has been quite sympathetic to President Obama, admits that unemployment “went down for the wrong reason: people dropping out of the labor force.”

He’s quite right. The labor force participation rate (64.3 percent) reached its lowest level in more than 30 years, while the employment-population ratio (58.4 percent) is lower still.

According to Jim Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute, if labor force participation had stayed the same in April as it was in March, the unemployment rate would have risen by three-tenths of a percent (to 8.4 percent). And if the labor force participation rate today was what it was when Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be roughly 11 percent. The real unemployment rate, including those who are working part-time due to economic reasons, now clocks in at nearly 15 percent (14.5).

“In the weakest recovery since the Great Depression, more than four-fifths of the reduction in unemployment has been accomplished by a dropping adult labor force participation rate — essentially persuading adults they don’t need a job, or the job they could find is not worth having,” according to University of Maryland economist Peter Morici.

Any way you slice it, last month’s jobs report is dispiriting. The unemployment rate, which is already at historically high levels, is being kept artificially low because of growing despair and hopelessness. The will and energy of many Americans is being ground to dust.

We know what Obama sounded like in theory (hope, change, unity, prosperity). Now we know what Obamaism looks like in practice. It isn’t a pretty sight. And I’m afraid the president is affirming the observation of Camus, which is that destruction is an easier, speedier process than reconstruction. But at least let the reconstruction begin.

The prerequisite for that to occur, it seems, is for Obama to be a one-term president.


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.