Obama's record on jobs less than stellar
Assessing President Obama's records on job creation during his term can be very misleading. While nearly 10 million jobs were created over the last 8 years, recovery from the Great Recession was painfully slow due to dismal GDP growth - the worst recovery of any post-World War II recession.
There were 75 straight months of jobs growth - a record. But what kind of jobs were created? Tyler Durden of Zero Hedge blog took to calling Obama's jobs record the "Waiter and Bartender Recovery." Check out the number of waiter and bartender jobs created compared to manufacturing jobs:
Five million Americans are working part time, but want to work full time. That, too, is a record.
But the real numbers not mentioned in all the self-congratulatory statements from the White House reveal a job market that for far too many Americans is impossible to crack.
From January 2009 through December 2016, there were 9,959,000 more Americans 16 years and over who became employed. In that same time frame, there were 14,573,000 more Americans 16 years and over who were not in the labor force, which means they did not have a job or look for one in the past four weeks.
The labor force participation rate, which measures the percentage of the population that participated in the labor force by either having a job or looking for one, declined for all Americans during Obama’s time in office from 65.7 percent to 62.7 percent. In September 2015, the participation dipped to 62.4 percent—the lowest level seen in recent times since 1977.
During Obama’s time in office, the unemployment rate declined from 7.8 percent to 4.7 percent. This measure counts those who do not have a job but looked for work in the past month. It does not account for those who have been discouraged and stopped looking for work.
“If you, a family member, or anyone is unemployed and has subsequently given up on finding a job—if you are so hopelessly out of work that you’ve stopped looking over the past four weeks—the Department of Labor doesn’t count you as unemployed,” said Jim Clifton, who is chairman and CEO of Gallup. “The official rate is misleading.”
This is why some point to the U-6 measure, or what some call the “real” unemployment rate, which includes those who may have been discouraged, as a better measurement. When Obama took office in January 2009, that rate stood at 14.2 percent, and in December 2016 it fell to 9.2 percent.
“There are systematic problems in the U.S. job market that aren’t clearly visible from looking at the general unemployment numbers,” said Alfredo Ortiz, president and CEO of the Job Creators Network. “By reducing the regulatory burden placed on small business job creators the labor force participation can return to healthy levels.”
Labor participation rates include people retiring or going off the books to work for cash. But by any measurement, the Obama years saw middle class Americans fall further behind as the industrial sector of the economy has collapsed and good paying jobs have become extremely difficult to find.