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Another Disappointing Labor Day, Courtesy of Obama Administration Policies

August 30, 2012

As Americans prepare to honor the economic contributions of workers this Labor Day, they are faced with yet another year of disappointing labor data, courtesy of the failed economic policies of the Obama Administration.  As described below, the “Obama Recovery” has come to be defined by:

1.  Persistently disappointing job and unemployment figures,
2.  Declining full-time work,
3.  Millions dropping out of the workforce, and
4.  Historic wage declines.  

These data show an economy still struggling to get back on its feet, despite the Administration’s trillion-dollar stimulus plan and related policies promising government-led prosperity.

1.  A Deficit of Jobs and a Surplus of Unemployment

In early 2009, the Obama Administration predicted that under its economic stimulus plan millions of jobs would be created by the end of 2010 and unemployment would never rise above 8 percent.  Both forecasts were disastrously wrong.  In July 2012, there were still 4.4 million fewer jobs than the Administration forecast for December 2010.  And the unemployment rate has been above 8 percent for 42 straight months – the longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

 Predicted by Administration (for December 2010) 137.6 million 
 Reality (for July 2012) 133.2 million
 Difference from what the Administration promised  4.4 million fewer jobs

Unemployment Rate 
 Predicted by Administration (for July 2012) 5.6% 
 Reality (for July 2012) 8.3%
 Difference from what the Administration promised
 48% higher unemployment rate

Source: Department of Labor employment and unemployment rate data and Obama Administration projections.

2. Decline in Full-Time Work
According to Obama Administration’s 2009 report forecasting the effects of its trillion-dollar stimulus plan, “A well designed recovery plan will not only create numerous jobs, but also many jobs paying good wages and providing full-time employment.”  The Obama Administration report goes on to estimate 2.7 million workers would move from part-time to full-time work if its stimulus plan became law.  President Obama signed the stimulus plan into law in February 2009, but the resulting reality couldn’t be more different from the Administration forecast.  Instead of more full-time workers, today there are 1.5 million fewer full-time workers than when President Obama took office in January 2009.  And as the chart below displays, millions of workers have held onto employment only by shifting from full-time to part-time work, which often lacks benefits and is not enough to adequately support a family.

Number of Full-Time and Part-Time Workers, 2006-2012


Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor.

3. Millions More Drop Out of the Labor Force than Become New Employees

During the Obama Administration, total employment has grown by a net of just 33,000 new employees, while the number of people no longer in the labor force has grown by 7.8 million.  This means that, during the Obama years, new labor force dropouts have outnumbered new employees by 237 to 1.

4. Bigger Wage Declines during the “Obama Recovery” than during the Prior Recession

When it comes to incomes under Obama, “almost every group is worse off than it was three years ago, and some groups had very large declines in income,” according to a recent report using Census Bureau data.  The report notes that median annual household income declined by $1,408 during the recession that officially lasted from December 2007 through June 2009, while it has declined by $2,544 during the “Obama Recovery” since June 2009.


Change in Real Median Annual Household Incomes
 Source: Bloomberg NewsU.S. Incomes Fell More In Recovery, Sentier Says,” August 24, 2012.