Another Month, Another Bunch of Bad Economic News

despairJust like the office created to close Gitmo, the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness slowly faded away.  The Council, with a two-year mandate in which only four face-to-face meetings were held, officially ceased to exist yesterday.

Unfortunately for Obama, the timing for the demise of his job-creation brain trust couldn’t be more inappropriate.  Today’s jobless report from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics showed the unemployment rate went up again in January to 7.9 percent.  This raises fears of the second Obama term being just like the first, with unemployment at or above eight percent.

The alternative U-6 unemployment rate that includes everyone who is underemployed or has given up looking for a job remained constant at 14.4 percent.

This dismal jobs report comes right on the heels of another Commerce Department report earlier this week that the economy contracted at the end of 2012 — the first time it has done that since 2009.

And the hits keep on coming.  Well in advance of next Monday’s mandated deadline, the Obama Administration announced they would not be releasing a proposed 2014 budget on time.  Then again, why should they bother considering that the liberal-dominated Senate hasn’t bothered to do their part and pass a budget since 2009.

P21DerryckGreenAll this gloomy economic news is giving Project 21 member Derryck Green a sense of déjà vu.  He’s unfortunately lived through all of this before.  Derryck, who regularly comments on the monthly jobs report on this blog, said:

Although it’s officially tomorrow, today feels like Groundhog Day.

Hearing the latest failings concerning Barack Obama’s economic policies with the monthly unemployment update is reminiscent of the movie “Groundhog Day,” where Bill Murray’s character relives the same day over and over again.

Our nation is similarly being forced to relive the same stagnant and depressing employment statistics and economic indicators over and over again under President Obama’s leadership.  While Murray’s character in the movie eventually figures life out and transcends his self-imposed rut.  The same unfortunately cannot be said for the rest of us.

In January, the overall unemployment rate jumped to 7.9 percent, while the unemployment rate for blacks only went to slightly below 14 percent [].  The unemployment rate for all women remained steady at 7.3 percent.

The only big move was that the unemployment rate for black teens went down from 40.5 percent to 37.8 percent.  But, with the numbers already so abysmally high, this improvement is hardly something to celebrate.

President Obama stated in his inaugural address that “[a]n economic recovery has begun.”  In the Senate, Harry Reid has also decided to pursue this fantasy.  Statistics show otherwise.

Consider this:

  • For the first time in several years, the economy actually shrank during the last quarter of 2012;
  • The Federal Reserve noted last week that it will continue its $85 billion-per-month stimulus program in which it buys mortgage bonds and government-backed debt to falsely prop up the economy (officially called “quantitative easing”).  As a result of this scheme, the Fed now holds almost $1.7 trillion dollars of U.S. debt — up from $475 billion when President Obama took first office;
  • Americans collecting federal disability money rose once again to another high — slightly over 8.8 million people.  This means that one person is collecting disability for every 13 people who are still working full-time;
  • The amount of debt accumulated just during President Obama’s first term was approximately $5.8 trillion which, if dispersed equally, would represent a “fair share” debt of over $50,000 per American household.  Obama has also signaled his intent on spending even more during his second term; and
  • The President decided to disband his so-called “jobs council,” which makes some sense considering he last met with the council last February.  With unemployment edging closer to eight percent yet again and millions of Americans still out of work or underemployed, it seems the only job that was worthy of the President’s concern all this time was his own.

This perpetual bad news regarding to unemployment and the economy isn’t a surprise.  The President seems preoccupied right now with gun control (with an emphasis on control), climate regulation, gay “rights” and continuing to attack successful Americans.  With Obama largely avoiding mention of the economy during his inauguration, we can only hope he will more thoughtfully address it during his State of the Union address later this month.  If recent history is any guide, however, holding one’s breath is not recommended.

Whatever the groundhog sees tomorrow concerning the remaining length of winter is merely a short-term prognosis.  As for the economy, the unfortunate forecast is to get ready for a likely four more years in the cold.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is a communications and research foundation supportive of a strong national defense and dedicated to providing free market solutions to today’s public policy problems. We believe that the principles of a free market, individual liberty and personal responsibility provide the greatest hope for meeting the challenges facing America in the 21st century.