The Awful, Awful August Jobs Report

As Glenn Reynolds noted last night, Obama went into yesterday’s speech knowing the jobs report number the rest of us would see today. You just know he was praying the unemployment number to crack the eight percent number, and if it had, his speechwriters would have referenced that one way or another last night.


No such luck, champ, James Pethokoukis writes at the American Enterprise Institute, along with plenty of scary-ass charts, such as the one above:

Now the depressing details of the jobs report:

– Nonfarm payrolls increased by only 96,000 in August, the Labor Department said, versus expectations of 125,000 jobs or more. The manufacturing sector, much touted by the president in his convention speech, lost 15,000 jobs.

– Since the start of the year, job growth has averaged 139,000 per month vs. an average monthly gain of 153,000 in 2011.

– As the chart at the top shows, the unemployment rate remains far above the rate predicted by Team Obama if Congress passed the stimulus. (This is the Romer-Bernstein chart.)

– While the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1% from 8.3% in July, it was due to a big drop in the labor force participation rate (the share of Americans with a job or looking for one). If fewer Americans hadn’t given up looking for work, the unemployment rate would have risen.

– Reuters notes that the participation rate is now at its lowest level since September 1981.

– If the labor force participation rate was the same as when Obama took office in January 2009, the unemployment rate would be 11.2%.

– If the participation rate had just stayed the same as last month, the unemployment rate would be 8.4%.

Even Obama-friendly Buzzfeed noted the omission of the unemployed from Obama’s boilerplate last night:


President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night didn’t include language targeted at the nation’s unemployed.

Despite boilerplate language about the job losses four years ago and his plans to create jobs, Obama did not specifically address the millions of Americans still struggling to find a job or a job that meets their needs.

Obama’s speech also avoided any mention of the unemployment rate, which is still above 8 percent and fell in August because 368,000 Americans left the workforce. Obama was briefed on the August jobs report yesterday afternoon, hours before he took the stage in Charlotte.

And the top of the Drudge Report today is just brutal:

Four more years of that?

Update: Forward!

(Incidentally, the Freudian symbolism of Thelma & Louise’s last shot dovetails rather well with the other message of this week’s convention.)


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