It looks like the Obama Administration once again has the press in its pocket as it builds its case for four more years. Witness the recent front page headlines of the reported large drop in unemployment for January.
The biggest single issue of the 2012 Presidential Campaign is unemployment, or jobs. Having taken note of that, the Obama team is working on their reelection strategy. The goal, of course, is to bring the unemployment number down to below what it was when Mr. Obama took office. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, here is what has happened to the unemployment rate since 2006.
Isn’t that amazing. The rate was 7.8 for January of 2009, but by the time Mr. Obama had found his way to the Oval Office (after the Inauguration Balls and all of the celebrations) it was 8.3 for February, 2009. Remember that number? That is what was just reported to be the unemployment rate for January 2012, just 36 months after Mr. Obama took office. 8.3% unemployment then. 8.3% unemployment now.
So now President Obama can say that, in spite of inheriting the entire problem from Mr. Bush, he has stabilized things and has Unemployment on its way back down. In fact, he can say, it is right where it was 36 months ago. His policies and leadership are doing the job he promised to do.
But, there’s a bit of a problem with the statistics. You see, in February 2009, the 8.3% unemployment was measured as the unemployed part of the 66+% of the working age population that participated in the workforce. In January of 2012, the 8.3% is the unemployed part of the less than 64% that was reported to have participated in the workforce, according to the BLS. That means millions of people who were not working were also not counted as being unemployed. Close to 8,000,000 people who are not working have been taken from the statistics under Mr. Obama’s watch. 1.2 million people were taken off the rolls in January of 2012 alone. The reasons given for this statistical slight of hand are variously stated as “no longer looking for work,” “aged out of the work pool,” etc. Do you think that the reported 243,000 new jobs reported last month caused the “unemployment rate” to drop from 8.5 to 8.3% or do you think maybe the 1.2 million people they stopped counting as part of the labor pool had more to do with it? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 88 million people are not participating in the workforce today. The BLS number was just over 80 million when Mr. Obama took office. So Mr. Obama can say that unemployment is now the same as it was in February of 2009 just after he took office, yet there are 8,000,000 more people not working yet who are also no longer counted in the statistics as they were in 2009.
If you use the more realistic number of persons in the labor pool that the BLS used in February 2009, what we really have is not a drop to 8.3% unemployed, but, a rise to 11.5% unemployment.
Are we really so dumb that we believe unemployment is the same as 3 years ago? Or, are we just numbed into agreeing with what we see, hear and read 24/7 from the (Obama Campaign HQ) mainstream media?
Let’s consider the situation if the Republicans put out press releases and claimed that in a head to head national race, either Romney or Gingrich or Santorum would win in November by 10 points. They could easily do this if they just didn’t count California or any of New England. How do you think the press would report that? Do you think they would take the Republican press releases without question and broadcast or print them as distributed?
Let’s see: The New York Times reports that Mr. Obama’s Administration has “created or saved” 2.5 million jobs and now has unemployment back down to where he “inherited” it. The NYT somehow buries on page 16 the fact of 8,000,000 fewer people counted by the BLS in the labor pool…….. It sure must be nice to have the press leading your reelection campaign committee.