Obama’s Disingenuous 3 Million Jobs Claim

Friday, January 27th, 2012 and is filed under Blog

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During his State of the Union Address, Obama painted a rosy picture of the fragile economic recovery.  He claimed that 3 million jobs have been created since January 2010.  Now he is running around the country tossing out that figure as if it is an inviolable fact.  Bill Wilson, President of Americans for Limited Government, decided to dig deeper into those numbers.  Here is what he concluded:

According to BLS, since Feb. 2010, when Obama starts measuring his claim that 3 million jobs were created, the amount of people employed has only increased from 138.66 million to 140.79 million, a net increase of only 2.13 million. While that sounds nice, that is a pace of just 96,000 a month, which does not even keep up with the growth of the population — which grew at a pace of 163,000 a month — let alone replace the 8 million jobs that were lost in the recession.

That means, when population growth and the loss of 4 million working age adults from the labor force who have simply stopped looking for work are fully taken into account, the unemployment situation has not improved at all.

Wilson makes an important, yet often overlooked point.  Even though job growth has ticked up during the past few months, so has population growth.  We need enough new jobs to keep up with the population, in addition to replenishing the 8 million lost jobs.  As such, the employment-population ratio is still down from its historical level.  When Obama took office in January 2009, the Employment-Population Ratio was 60.6%.  Now it stands at 58.5%.

Moreover, people are forgetting that a number of workers have become so discouraged from the dismal job market that they gave up their job search.  Despite the surge in job growth, the labor force participation rate is still a record low 64%, down almost a full point from February 2010, Obama’s benchmark month for job recovery.  This is nothing to brag about.