The Unemployment Rate With and Without the Recovery Plan

This post by James Pethokoukis is getting a lot of flack from regime apologists. It looks at the current job numbers and calls bat guano on the whole thing. But what really gets people upset is the chart at the top of the post. Here is the chart, and an excerpt of what he wrote:


Even if it were a legit number, the 8.3% February unemployment rate, released today by the Labor Department, would be simply terrible—and unacceptable. It would still extend the longest streak of 8%-plus unemployment since the Great Depression. The U.S. economy hasn’t been below 8% unemployment since Obama took office in January 2009. And back in May 2007, unemployment was just 4.4%.
But, unfortunately, the true measure of U.S. unemployment is much, much worse.
1. If the size of the U.S. labor force as a share of the total population was the same as it was when Barack Obama took office—65.7% then vs. 63.9% today—the U-3 unemployment rate would be 10.8%.
2. But what if you take into the account the aging of the Baby Boomers, which means the labor force participation (LFP) rate should be trending lower. Indeed, it has been doing just that since 2000. Before the Great Recession, the Congressional Budget Office predicted what the LFP would be in 2012, assuming such demographic changes. Using that number, the real unemployment rate would be 10.4%.
3. Of course, the LFP rate usually falls during recessions. Yet even if you discount for that and the aging issue, the real unemployment rate would be 9.5%.
4. Then there’s the broader, U-6 measure of unemployment which includes the discouraged plus part-timers who wish they had full time work. That unemployment rate, perhaps the truest measure of the labor market’s health, is still a sky-high 14.9%.
5. Recall that back in 2009, White House economists Jared Bernstein and Christina Romer used their old-fashioned Keynesian model to predict how the $800 billion stimulus would affect employment. According to their model—as displayed in the above chart, updated—unemployment should be around 6% today.

Right after his article was posted, there were many articles written to debunk it and the chart. However, as Don Surber points out, it is not Pethokoukis’s chart–it is the chart provided by the Obama administration. But the chart was made before the extent of the problem was known, they say, so it unfair to hold Obama accountable for it. Surber:

If they did not know the exact nature of the problem, then of course they misdiagnosed the problem. Stimuluses are short-term answers. Looks like we needed something longer term, like rolling back regulations and allowing the economy to heal itself.
But expect more of the same crap from the government and her apologist. The George Bush stimulus of 2008 failed. The $787 billion stimulus failed. And the next one in 2011 (the “payroll tax” cut) also failed. And this year’s stimulus (a deeper “payroll tax” cut) also is failing.
Liberals should admit their mistake and try a new tactic. But if they did that, they would be too smart to be liberals.

Indeed, if they could admit their mistakes, they would not be liberals. Of course, one definition of a fool is that a fool is someone who keeps doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result.

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One Response to The Unemployment Rate With and Without the Recovery Plan

  1. Ben Hoffman says:

    No matter what you believe about the Stimulus, which was 1/3 tax cuts, Republican policies destroyed our economy. That’s a fact. Other inconvenient facts are: the Stimulus created or saved millions of jobs, we have improved infrastructure, and GM was saved. Right-wingers do nothing but destroy our country and complain. Another inconvenient fact.

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