Unemployment Gap Remains
12:11 PM, Mar 9, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent for February, which is equal to the rate in January and lower than the rate throughout 2011. Jim Pethokoukis reacts by posting this updated graph that compares the unemployment reality to the promises the Obama administration made when arguing for the $787 billion stimulus package back in early 2009. Pethokoukis points to a 2.3 percentage point gap between the 8.3 percent rate today and the 6 percent rate promised by the administration.
The actual unemployment picture, Pethokoukis continues, is much worse when considering the overall decline of the labor force participation rate. He offers a few adjusted rates to consider:
Read his whole post here.
The White House's reaction to the numbers is rosier, with Alan B. Krueger, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, calling the growth an "encouraging sign" and touting the administration's policies. "Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression," said Krueger in a statement. "It is critical that we continue the economic policies that are helping us dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the recession that began at the end of 2007, including measures to help the sectors that were most severely harmed by the bubble economy that misdirected investment and created too few durable jobs."
Austan Goolsbee, the former Council of Economic Advisers chair and a chief White House economic adviser, cautioned this morning on his Twitter feed that if GDP growth slows, which he said was "likely," that "we probably aren't going to see consistent [numbers] like this."