The Real Employment Situation – January 2009 through March 2012

* By: Larry Walker, Jr. *

“Our economy’s now created more than 4 million private sector jobs over the past 2 years. And more than 600,000 in the past 3 months alone,” Mr. Obama boasted to a forum at the White House on women and the economy, on Friday (CBS News).

And in related news, on the previous evening, Egan-Jones Ratings Co. cut the U.S.A.’s credit rating one step to AA, the second downgrade in nine months and two levels below its highest grade, with a negative outlook citing the nation’s increasing debt burden (Bloomberg).

Most of us are well aware of the nation’s impending debt implosion, but the real employment situation has been distorted beyond reason. I understand how badly Mr. Obama is fighting against returning to the obscure existence he led prior to 2008, but if he was at all capable, he would at least tell us the truth about where we stand. I’m frankly weary from all the sugarcoating and distortion of facts. So what’s the real employment situation?

The Truth Shall Set You Free!

In order to know the truth, we must examine not so much monthly trends in employment, but rather changes which have occurred from the end of January 2009 through March 2012. When we examine the entire record, we find that our economy hasn’t created any jobs at all over the past 3 ¼ years, on a seasonally adjusted basis. Instead the unemployment rate has risen from 7.8% to 8.2%, the number of nonfarm jobs has declined by 740,000, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 624,000, and total employment has declined by 153,000. Meanwhile, the working age population has grown by 7,865,000, while the civilian labor force has only managed an increase of 471,000, causing the number of persons no longer counted in the labor force to balloon by 7,395,000.

The truth is that our economy hasn’t created any new jobs since Obama’s policies took effect. The total number of jobs peaked at an all time high of 146,595,000 in November of 2007, and through March of 2012 the number stands at 142,034,000, more than 4.5 million off the mark. If we had more jobs than existed in November of 2007, then Obama would have something to brag about, although not much. But since the truth is somewhat inconvenient, we are supposed to ignore the fact that we are more than 4 million jobs in the hole, and submit to repeated media brainwashing and succumb to the belief that we have somehow moved ahead by over 4 million. Phooey! Here are the facts.

Unemployment Rate

The unemployment rate rose from 7.8 percent in January of 2009 to 8.2 percent as of March 2012, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (Employment Situation 4/6/2012). (See table A-1 / Seasonally Adjusted)

Nonfarm Employment

Nonfarm payroll employment declined by 740,000 through March of 2012, from 133,561,000 in January of 2009 to 132,821,000. (See table B-1 / Seasonally Adjusted)

Unemployed Persons

The number of unemployed persons increased by 624,000 through March of 2012, from 12,049,000 in January of 2009 to 12,673,000. (See table A-1 / Seasonally Adjusted)

Total Employment

The number of persons employed declined by 153,000 through March of 2012, from 142,187,000 in January of 2009 to 142,034,000. (See table A-1 / Seasonally Adjusted)

Civilian Noninstitutional Population

The Civilian Noninstitutional Population (working age population) increased by 7,865,000 through March of 2012, from 234,739,000 in January of 2009 to 242,604,000. (See table A-1 / Seasonally Adjusted)

Civilian Labor Force

The labor force increased by 471,000 through March of 2012, from 154,236,000 in January of 2009 to 154,707,000. The labor force hasn’t grown at all since October of 2008. (See table A-1 / Seasonally Adjusted)

Not in Labor Force

The number of persons not in the labor force increased by 7,395,000 through March of 2012, from 80,502,000 in January of 2009 to 87,897,000. (See table A-1 / Seasonally Adjusted)

To make the claim of having created more jobs than Mr. Bush, which we all know was Mr. Obama’s insinuation; he must first match Mr. Bush’s all-time-high of 146,595,000. If the number of persons who involuntarily dropped out of the labor force (7.3 million), since Mr. Obama’s policies took effect, had instead been jobs created, Mr. Obama might go down in history as the all-time greatest. However, since we presently have 4.5 million fewer jobs than existed at Mr. Bush’s peak, and since, under the direction of Mr. Obama, 7.3 million new working age persons have been pushed straight into joblessness and generational dependency, Mr. Obama’s policies should perhaps be branded as the most ineffective in U.S. history.

Since employment is a lagging economic indicator, and because economists are calling for recession in 2012, and since the statistics above represent the sum total of Obama’s economic accomplishments, we’re in for serious troubles ahead. To reiterate, Mr. Obama’s policies of Inordinate Stimulus, Undue Debt and Global Warming Foolishness caused the Looming Recession.

Photo Credit: A swarm of Western Toad tadpoles eating algae. Photo: Kristiina Ovaska

Reference: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Situation Summary

Data: Worksheets

4 thoughts on “The Real Employment Situation – January 2009 through March 2012

  1. I wouldn't call Obama the most ineffective president of US history. This article fails to recognize the difficulties faced by Obama. When he entered office (January 2009) the economy was losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month and we were facing the second worst recession in US history. Which I might add began due to lax housing market policies set in place by previous administrations including the Bush and Clinton administrations and wall street deregulation. Furthermore, although people tend to vote based on the economy, it's a fact that presidents can exert only slight to moderate force on it. It's not all Bush's fault the recession began nor is it all Obama's fault that the economy has recovered and is beginning to recreate the jobs that were lost. Lastly, there's further factors contributing to America's sluggishness today, mainly the uncertainty present in the Eurozone. Relative to Europe, America's doing just fine as a veteran economy. Furthermore, there are some positive indicators present in the very graphs you used to make your arguments. Barack Obama has managed to create almost as many jobs as were lost in the first year of his administration (from the recession). The trend of a growing labor force but dwindling job opportunities has remained fairly consistent since 2002. Obama didn't cause any additional harm nor did he prevent it relative to the previous administration. If there's an overall message to my rebuttal, it's that you let politics cloud your judgement just as the media has. In reality Barack Obama has done fairly well considering the challenges he faced. Has he created jobs? Yes and no, depending on whether you compare him to the America pre housing bubble, or the America post housing bubble. Clearly one of those periods was a propped up lie. Has Obama saved our economy? No, it's still in rough shape, but relative to other major economies it's doing fairly well by not getting much worse. Lastly, you seem to cherish the peak of jobs present during the Bush administration however you fail to take into account, the end point / recession that occured at the end of that period. It is not the peaks we should be concered about, but rather the end point. Today America is close to fully recovering, it still has quite a ways to go and could relapse if the Eurozone collapses. But nonetheless, during Barack Obama's presidency, if one uses the bottom of the recession as a starting point, which as a methodology may be controversial in its own right, the economy has significantly recovered during Barack Obama's presidency. Could it be better? Who knows; I'm sure Mitt's certainly saying yes while Obama's saying no. Still, one thing is certain, we can't go back to how things were or history is doomed to repeat itself, yet challenges may lie ahead. Next stop Medical Care Bubble.


  2. Clearly there is more to the story. This particular post simply outlined where we were at the time relative to where we had been. The following is from a post which relates more to where we should be.

    “Returning to December of 2007, the month the last known recession began, and applying the Economic Policy Institute’s (EPI) estimate — that we need to create a minimum of 127,000 jobs each and every month to keep up with population growth — we discover that the jobs deficit, since then, has grown to 11,790,000. The deficit stood at 5,165,000 jobs when Obama was inaugurated, and has since grown by an additional 6,625,000. So does that sound like, “a step in the right direction?”” [for more on this see U.S. Jobs Deficit Grows by 47,000 in June and the related The Real Jobs Deficit | Moving in the wrong direction.


  3. The Obama administration has repeatedly stated over the past several years that green shoots are appearing and the economy is recovering. Unfortunately for them the actual economic growth rate is the worst in 60 years. To illustrate how far from reality this contention of theirs is I used a technique I learned about in a graduate school class on research methodology called unobtrusive measures . The use of this technique can give us an unbiased look at the economy. One example of this was that I was recently traveling south on I-75 near Valdosta, GA which has more billboards per mile than almost anywhere is the US. These billboard signs used to be almost totally rented three years ago. I noticed that as of today over 60 of those billboards going southbound were either blank or had rental signs on them. Hardly a sign of strong economy, is it?


  4. Obama has repeatedly compared himself to President Lincoln, but he is apparently unaware of some of Lincoln’s beliefs. Whenever I see Obama repeatedly spouting off about how the economy is improving despite the lowest growth rate in 60 years, how he has created all those millions of jobs apparently out of thin air or how the government is going to solve all of our problems, magically without increasing the deficit, I remember a famous quotation from President Lincoln, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”


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