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Under Obama: 30 Worst Months of Employment in the Past 25 Years

8:05 AM, May 23, 2012 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
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The federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes monthly tallies for the employment-population ratio.  That stat shows something rather straightforward:  Among those who are living in America and are free to pursue employment, what percentage are employed?  (The bureau excludes those who are under 16 years old, are active-duty military, or are — in the bureau’s own words — “inmates of institutions (for example, penal and mental facilities, homes for the aged),” from its tallies.) 

Barack Obama

Over the past quarter of a century (a total of 300 months), dating back to May 1987 and the Reagan administration, here are the 30 worst months (that is, the bottom 10 percent) for the employment-population ratio, along with the president who happened to be in office at that particular time (scroll down to the see the list):

1. (tie) July 2011, 58.2 percent, President Barack Obama
1. (tie) June 2011, 58.2 percent, Obama
1. (tie) November 2010, 58.2 percent, Obama
1. (tie) December 2009, 58.2 percent, Obama
5. (tie) August 2011, 58.3 percent, Obama
5. (tie) December 2010, 58.3 percent, Obama
5. (tie) October 2010, 58.3 percent, Obama
8. (tie) April 2012, 58.4 percent, Obama
8. (tie) October 2011, 58.4 percent, Obama
8. (tie) September 2011, 58.4 percent, Obama
8. (tie) May 2011, 58.4 percent, Obama
8. (tie) April 2011, 58.4 percent, Obama
8. (tie) February 2011, 58.4 percent, Obama
8. (tie) January 2011, 58.4 percent, Obama
15. (tie) March 2012, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) January 2012, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) December 2011, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) November 2011, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) March 2011, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) September 2010, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) August 2010, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) July 2010, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) June 2010, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) March 2010, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) February 2010, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) January 2010, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) November 2009, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) October 2009, 58.5 percent, Obama
29. February 2012, 58.6 percent, Obama
30. (tie) May 2010, 58.7 percent, Obama
30. (tie) April 2010, 58.7 percent, Obama
30. (tie) September 2009, 58.7 percent, Obama 

Interestingly, the 30 (or 32, including ties) worst months for employment in the past 25 years have all come after the most recent recession ended, in June 2009.  In other words, they’ve all come during the Obama “recovery.”  

What’s more, under every other president during the past 25 years (spanning from the later stages of the Reagan presidency through the entire George W. Bush presidency), the employment-population ratio was always over 60 percent — every single month, for 260 consecutive months.  In vivid contrast, with the exception of the month in which he took office (January 2009) and his first full month in office (February 2009), the employment-population ratio under Obama has always been under 60 percent — every single month, for 38 consecutive months.  (For 32 consecutive months — from September 2009 to the present day — it’s been under 59 percent.)

In fact, the worst non-Obama month in the past 25 years was December 2008, when the employment-population ratio was 61.0 percent under George W. Bush.  Comparatively, Obama’s best month to date (not counting January 2009, when he entered midstream) was his first, February 2009, when the employment-population ratio was 60.3 percent. In other words, over the past 25 years, the worst month under any other president has beaten the best month under Obama.

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