In one of President Obama's TV ads, Bill Clinton says that the key question in this election is which candidate can figure out how "to return us to full employment." But as the federal government's own figures show, Obama might want to start by first figuring out how to get us back to the level of employment that we had during the recession.
According to figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), only 58.3 percent of Americans over the age of 16 are currently employed. That's the lowest percentage in the past year—so things are getting worse, not better. But things haven't just gotten worse over the past 12 months; they've also gotten worse since the recession ostensibly ended and the recovery ostensibly began.
In fact, for an amazing 38 consecutive months, the percentage of Americans who are employed has been lower than the percentage who were employed during the recession. According to the BLS, the low-water mark for employment during the recession was 59.4 percent, while the high-water mark for employment during the "recovery" has been 59.3 percent. That's right: When it comes to the percentage of Americans who are employed, every month of the "recovery" has been worse than any month of the recession.
During George W. Bush's presidency, the portion of Americans who were employed was always over 60 percent—every single month, for eight consecutive years. The portion of Americans who are employed dipped below the 60-percent mark only under Obama, and it has now remained there for more than three consecutive years.
So, to recap, the percentage of Americans who are employed is now lower, not higher, than it was a year ago. It's now lower, not higher, than it was during the recession. And it's now lower, not higher, than it was under Obama's predecessor.
All of this begs two questions: What, exactly, did that $831,000,000,000 in debt-financed "stimulus" spending buy us? And is it merely a coincidence that since the Obamacare debate heated up in June 2009, the portion of Americans who are employed has never again hit 60 percent?