The August jobs report is out, and it’s official. Sound the trumpets for this announcement: Barack Obama continues to break the record for the longest streak of private sector job growth during the term of any modern president.
The U.S. economy added 151,000 new jobs in August. Of course the so-called “liberal” media is pointing out that analysts expected 180,000 They are largely failing to note that this is the 78th straight month of private sector job growth under President Obama, which is a modern record. Unemployment continues to hold steady at 4.9 percent, around half of what it was when Obama took office.
This is where your conservative uncle stops you and brings up the words “labor participation rate.” Conservatives are often (but not always) smart enough to know better than to argue with numbers, so when they get some numbers that they don’t like, they go looking for others. That’s why you had probably never heard of the labor participation rate until President Obama started getting credit for job creation.
The labor participation rate is the percentage of the total population that is employed or actively looking for work. Yes, the labor participation rate has been lower under Obama than under his recent predecessors. But it’s not because his policies are killing the economy, as they would like you to believe. It’s largely due to the fact that the post-war “baby boom” generation is aging out of the workforce. And the decline in the number of Americans working or looking for work predates President Obama — it has been trending lower since about the year 2000.
Then there’s the other claim, that the unemployment rate is so low because so many people have stopped looking for jobs. Sorry righties, but that number has been trending downward as well. Since the beginning of 2011, in fact.
And of course there are those who will want to argue about the “weakness” of the Obama recovery. Here are a couple of things to think about.
Republicans like to claim ownership of any number of things that they’re actually pretty crappy at dealing with. And one of those things is the economy. Who would like to guess which three presidents out of the past seven, going back 40 years, have had the best record on average yearly job growth? You’ll probably get at least one of them wrong. In order of most jobs created on an annual basis, those presidents are:
President Obama is in position #4 on that list. The two Bushes bring up the rear. Even with the ridiculous level of obstruction he has faced from Congress, President Obama has presided over an economy that has created twice the number of jobs per year as did “Pappy” Bush. And W? Obama beats his job creation numbers by a factor of almost ten.
So the president adds another month to his streak of job creation, and all the media wants to talk about is how they expected more. But then after almost eight years, we would probably have been fools to think they would say anything else.
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