But this reality is still a huge depressant on our economy – both economically and psychologically. Logically unemployment should still be the #1 issue in the November election – which is why Obama is busy throwing mud in every direction but his own.
Here’s a readable WALL ST JOURNAL op-ed on this problem. But first I’ve listed my 10 factoids and observations — mostly from the article:
1. Fewer Americans are working today than in 2000, despite the fact that our labor force has grown by 11.4 million.
2. The U.S. economy is NOT rebounding as in times past — an ominous parallel with the 12%+ permanent European unemployment condition.
3. Fifty percent of the jobs created since the recession hit have been part-time, with no benefits and a wage that’s inadequate to enter the middle class.
4. Counting discouraged workers no longer seeking employment and part-timers who want to be full-timers, our unemployment rate is officially 14.9%.
5. Under George W. Bush, his predecessor, the jobless rate averaged 5.3% and was at 6.8% in the month his party lost the 2008 election. Under Obama, we have averaged a record setting 8.8% unemployment. Currently it’s 8.2% – in spite of the trillions of deficit “stimulus” spending.
6. Job seekers are only one-third as likely to find a job as before Mr. Obama was elected.
7. According to a recent survey, more than 20% of U.S. companies say that the number of people they employ will never return to pre-recession levels.
8. Most of the newly available jobs don’t match the pay, the hours, or the benefits of the millions of positions that vanished during the recession.
9. Unmentioned in the article is the demographic unemployment problems – keeping the young from getting their first job (and developing a résumé for the next one), and the particularly high ongoing unemployment rates among the often-undereducated minorities (those about whom Obama loves to give his caring speeches).
10. The key question in the op-ed: “Can the president persuade voters to let him keep his job when so many of them have lost theirs?”
WALL ST JOURNAL
· Updated July 23, 2012
Unemployment Is Still the Biggest Election Issue
The assessment that the U.S. economy is “stuck in the mud,” recently given to lawmakers by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, underscores again that there has been no recovery since the theoretical ending of the recession in June 2009. For the 80% of Americans born after World War II, this is their Great Depression.
The most recent signal of a weakening economy comes from the U.S. consumer, with the Commerce Department reporting last week that retail sales fell 0.5% in June, far below the expected 0.2% increase. A stunning 70% of U.S. retailers missed their sales targets in June, the third consecutive month that sales have weakened and the worst showing since November 2009.
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