Today’s Jobs Report: Good News?

It’s fairly good news, anyway. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.6%, but the decline was driven in part by lots of people–some 315,000–giving up and leaving the labor force. This means that labor force participation is down to 64 percent, almost two percent lower than when President Obama took office and the lowest figure in nearly 30 years. Citigroup did the math and concluded that if labor force participation had remained steady, the unemployment rate would have dropped to 8.8 percent. Normally, of course, we expect the labor force to grow; if the labor force had followed trend growth, unemployment would be at 8.9 percent. So, is that better than 9 percent? Slightly, but not much.

At this pace of job growth, it will take more than twenty years to get back to the pre-recession unemployment rate. This is unacceptable. The only solution to our jobs problem is economic growth, but whenever the economy tries to climb up off the mat, the Obama administration smacks it back down again. It is noteworthy that, according to the Senate Budget Committee, more than one-half of the two million jobs that have been lost under the Obama administration have been in manufacturing. We can’t bring back manufacturing jobs if the EPA continues to frustrate every effort at physical development–as though the entire nation could earn its living by pushing paper. We are afflicted with an administration that either doesn’t understand the first thing about economic growth, or believes that it serves some higher purpose to suppress it. November 2012 can’t come soon enough.

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