Work­ing in Amer­ica

A dis­mal May jobs re­port sug­gests more mis­ery ahead

The Washington Times Weekly - - Editorials -

Barack Obama trav­eled to In­di­ana last week to hold a pep rally about an econ­omy that doesn’t have much pep. He raised a few half­hearted cheers but it wasn’t clear, ex­actly, what coun­try he was talk­ing about.

The lat­est jobs re­port puts to rest any lin­ger­ing fan­tasy that these are the salad days of the econ­omy. The monthly jobs re­port said 38,000 jobs were cre­ated in May, but to­gether with down­ward re­vi­sions of the fig­ures from the pre­vi­ous two months, the net num­ber of jobs cre­ated was less than zero.

The num­ber of blue-col­lar and mid­dle-class jobs shrank again. Amer­ica lost jobs in man­u­fac­tur­ing, con­struc­tion, and min­ing. Nearly half of all min­ing jobs have been lost over the past two years, due in no small part to the Obama war against coal.

The un­em­ploy­ment rate ac­tu­ally fell to 4.7 per­cent, the low­est rate since the re­ces­sion of 2008-09. But that’s a sta­tis­ti­cal mi­rage. The stated un­em­ploy­ment rate fell be­cause nearly a half-mil­lion ad­di­tional Amer­i­cans left the work­force in May.

If the econ­omy were as strong as the numbers say, why are so many adults leav­ing the work­force? In a re­cov­ery work­ers usu­ally re­turn to the job mar­ket. The Obama record on the econ­omy is a dis­mal one: just un­der 95 mil­lion Amer­i­cans above the age of 16 are not work­ing. When it seems the par­tic­i­pa­tion-in-the-econ­omy rate can’t fall lower, it does. It’s the low­est now since the Carter years. Per­haps some of the 45 mil­lion Amer­i­cans on food stamps or other gov­ern­ment wel­fare as­sis­tance think that’s as good as a job.

The La­bor De­part­ment cal­cu­lates that the real un­em­ploy­ment rate is closer to 10 per­cent, in­clud­ing work­ers who have stopped look­ing for work and those who want a full-time job but can’t find one. The num­ber of work­ers who want to work 40 hours a week and the pay­check but can’t find one, and must work part-time, in­creased by 468,000 in May.

This is dread­ful news for Amer­i­can work­ers and points to an econ­omy grow­ing at a mis­er­able 1 per­cent over the past six months. The econ­omy should be grow­ing at 3 to 4 per­cent, and the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion still has not pro­duced a sin­gle year of growth ex­ceed­ing 3 per­cent. In the Rea­gan years growth av­er­aged 3.5 per­cent an­nu­ally, with sev­eral quar­ters above 7 per­cent.

This ad­min­is­tra­tion op­poses en­ergy de­vel­op­ment, de­mo­nizes busi­ness, stran­gles em­ploy­ers with new reg­u­la­tions ev­ery week and racks up debt at a rate never be­fore seen.

Pres­i­dent Obama’s econ­o­mists of­fer only stale ex­cuses: It’s all the fault of the Repub­li­can Congress (that the pres­i­dent ig­nores), Ge­orge W. Bush, global de­vel­op­ments, the Ver­i­zon strike, and of course global warm­ing.

The re­al­ity is busi­nesses aren’t in­vest­ing or ex­pand­ing op­er­a­tions be­cause they’re strug­gling against the pub­lic pol­icy head­winds cre­ated in Wash­ing­ton. To grow, the econ­omy needs a cor­po­rate tax cut, a pro-drilling and min­ing en­ergy pol­icy, and a roll­back of Oba­macare em­ploy­ment rules. That’s just a start. It’s clear that this econ­omy won’t get out of what Jimmy Carter fa­mously called a malaise by heal­ing it­self. Most Obama eco­nomic poli­cies must be re­versed. Hil­lary Clin­ton’s only pre­scrip­tion is “four more years.” That’s noth­ing to hope for.

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