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Employment Rate Below 60.0 Percent for 40 Consecutive Months

7:19 AM, Jul 11, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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For 280 consecutive months before President Obama took office — a span of more than 23 years — the portion of Americans who were employed always exceeded 60.0 percent (according to official tallies from the Bureau of Labor Statistics). In marked contrast, last Friday’s jobs numbers show that, under Obama, the portion of Americans who are employed has remained below 60.0 percent for 40 consecutive months. 

Barack Obama and Cabinet in Roadmap to Recovery meeting 2009-06-08 2

In other words, when Obama took office, America had a streak going of 280 straight months in which at least 60.0 percent of Americans were employed.  Under Obama, that streak was broken and a new one has begun: 40 straight months in which fewer than 60.0 percent of Americans are employed. 

Moreover, since Obama signed Obamacare into law 27 months ago, the percentage of Americans who are employed — also known as the employment-population ratio, or the employment rate — has always been below 59.0 percent. In contrast, the worst month of employment under President George W. Bush was 61.0 percent. That’s a difference affecting millions of Americans.

An employment rate below 59.0 percent may appear to be the new norm under Obamacare. But it wasn’t always this way. In fact, pre-Obama, the last time the employment rate didn’t exceed 59.0 percent was in January 1984 — more than 28 years ago. 

Nevertheless, Obama shamelessly says that, under his leadership, the economy has taken “a step in the right direction.”  

You be the judge: The employment rate during Obama’s first full month in office was 60.3 percent; the employment rate during the last month of the recession that he inherited was 59.4 percent; the current employment rate is 58.6 percent. In other words, since the end of the recession, the percentage of Americans who are employed has actually dropped by 0.8 points — and that’s after three full years (July 2009 through June 2012) of the Obama “recovery.” 

This is really something of a feat. Normally, the rule is as follows: the deeper the recession, the stronger the recovery. After all, a depressed economy has almost nowhere to go but up. Even if left on autopilot, it should rise on its own. But at least in terms of employment, Obama has done the near-impossible: He inherited what he likes to call the worst recession since the Great Depression, and he has clearly made it worse.

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