August’s Economic Numbers

Listening to the President’s speech at the Milwaukee Laborfest this past week, he would have the country believe that the economy is booming- or at the very least, strengthening enough to give the country more confidence in his stewardship. Among other things, Obama bragged that his administration has created more than ten million jobs and that the country is stronger because Americans now have “quality, affordable health insurance that [we] can count on.” He also claimed that because of his economic policies, the American economy is stronger now than when he took office back in 2009.

 

But according to Obama, the main reason more people don’t realize how well the economy is doing is because of – the media. Yes, the same media that has defended his poor economic policies and have willingly spun the jobs report month in and month out- regardless of how bad the reports have been- are now at fault for- I guess- not spinning the economic news in his favor, enough.

 

Unfortunately for President Obama, the jobs numbers and other economic indicators paint a much different, less optimistic picture than the one he paints- regardless of television media input.

 

The initial estimate of the second-quarter GDP growth rate of four percent was revised upwards to 4.2%, which is news considering the first quarter contracted 2.1%. Though the second quarter growth is good news, when averaged with the first quarter, the economy has grown slightly above one percent.

 

As for jobs numbers, payroll processor ADP says that 204,000 jobs were added in August. Though down from the previous month’s job additions, August was thought to be the seventh month that private job creation exceeded 200,000. But, the BLS says that there were only 142,000 jobs created last month, far below what many economists expected. In addition, 7.3 million people are stuck in part-time employment and 92 million people aren’t in the labor force.

 

In August, the national unemployment rate ticked down to 6.1%. The U-6 rate, the more accurate indicator of unemployment- which includes discouraged workers, workers marginally attached to the labor force and those working part-time but prefer full-time work- is still 12%.

 

The unemployment rate for blacks is 11.4%, and there are more than twelve million blacks not in the labor force. Black teen unemployment dropped to 32.8%.   The unemployment rate for the politically coveted Latino demographic was 7.5%.

 

The labor force participation rate dropped slightly to 62.8%, once again matching the lowest point seen since 1978.

 

Other economic indicators show:

  • Every month for the last 36 months, at least 45 million Americans have been enrolled on food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), according to the Department of Agriculture. In May 2014, the last month in which the data is known, more than 46 million people received food stamps;
  • The Bureau of the Fiscal Service’s Monthly Treasury Report, 2013 saw over two trillion dollars in benefits and entitlements paid out by the federal government. Almost seventy percent of this amount was paid out in non-means tested programs, which means program eligibility isn’t tied to income;
  • According to Census data, more than a third of Americans are receiving some form of government assistance.
  • Data recently released by Sentier Research shows that the median household income is more than three percent lower now than it was when the recession was declared over in June 2009, and is almost five percent lower than it was in December, 2007.
  • The Pew Charitable Trust shows that no state in the country could claim employment gains between 2007-2014.
  • The National Retail Federation announced that the retail industry lost almost 18,000 jobs in August;
  • The Congressional Budget Office recently revised an April 2014 report on the potential effects of Obamacare on the economy over the next ten years. Not only does the CBO project a smaller labor force participation rate than pre-recession levels, but expects the labor force participation rate to be further reduced because ACA subsidies are tied to income. After a certain level (400% of the federal poverty level) the higher the income the fewer subsidies available for increasing premiums- a clear incentive not to work.
  • For all of Obama’s income inequality rhetoric that fuels class warfare and resentment, under his leadership “the richest 10 percent were the only income group of Americans that saw their median incomes rise,” according to a Federal Reserve survey.
  • Even AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka has soured on Obama’s economic policies. When a union leader calls out the President of the party it supports, funds, and perverts- in addition to other Democrats- you know it’s bad.

 

With statistics like these it’s no wonder why the majority of Americans– 54%- are disappointed in the job Obama is doing on the economy– and he is “doing a job” on the economy. It’s also no surprise that almost half of Americans- 49%- think the economy is still in recession.

 

But according to Obama, all this bad news is the fault of the media and not his irresponsible economic policies.

 

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