2008 record      


Economy: Darin Wedel, an out-of-work Texas electronics engineer who more than two months ago sent his resume to the White House at the request of President Obama, is still unemployed. It's a tale for our times.

Wedel sent his resume to the White House after Obama told Wedel's wife in a Jan. 30 Internet forum that the U.S. doesn't have enough home-grown engineers to fill all the opportunities.

Turns out, that's not exactly true. "Not even recruiting companies are calling anymore," Jennifer Wedel, a Fort Worth, Texas, mother of two, said of her jobless hubby.

As the Wedel family might tell you — and as April's mediocre gain of 120,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs shows — the economy's employment engine isn't in high gear.

Numbers tell the story. Since Obama entered office promising a jobs boom from his "stimulus," the economy has lost 1.6 million jobs. Since the employment peak in early 2008, 5.2 million jobs have disappeared.

Labor participation rates have plunged in recent years, in part due to retirements, but mostly due to people just dropping out — they can't find jobs at all.

Today, a record 100.5 million Americans older than 16 don't have jobs, up 34% since 2000. As Eddy Elfenbein, editor of the Crossing Wall Street blog, notes, "If we were to have the same jobs-to-population ratio as 12 years ago, there would have to be 14.6 million more jobs, or 22.6 million fewer people."

That's the scale of the damage done to our economy.

It may come as a surprise to Americans who've been fed a steady diet of stories claiming a ripping recovery is either here or on the way, but this remains the worst jobs recovery since the Depression.

The White House and Democrats tout that unemployment has fallen from a high of 10% during the recession to "just" 8.2% in April.

But that's deceptive, to say the least. Since official data no longer count many jobless people, some analysts use a variety of alternative unemployment measures to see what's really going on. And what they see isn't pretty.

Even the Bureau of Labor Statistics has its own measure that gives a better reading than the so-called "headline" number. It's called U-5, and it includes not just the unemployed, but discouraged workers and those "marginally attached" to the labor force.

What's it say? That unemployment, in contrast to the official government rate of 8.2%, is more like 9.6%.

The IBD/TIPP Poll has its own measure. Each month we ask respondents if anyone from their household is looking for work. In April, 24% of households answered in the affirmative — translating to roughly 30 million Americans, or a jobless rate of nearly 19.4%.

Yet, the government's official figures say just 12.7 million don't have jobs. Take that with a grain of salt.

Lest you think it's just us, Gallup also does its own jobs survey each month. Its "underemployment rate" — made up of those without jobs and those working part-time but who want full-time work — now stands at 18%.

In sum, this isn't by any stretch a normal jobs recovery. It's the worst ever. And the reason is simple: The man in the Oval Office makes promises his statist policies can't keep. Just ask Darin Wedel.


{jb_greenbox}Related Article:  TIPP Job Report{/jb_greenbox}
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