The Bureau of Labor Statistics released September jobs numbers showing the unemployment rate dropping to 7.8 percent, below 8 percent for the first time in 44 months. In addition, employers added 114,000 jobs in September.
James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute referred to the report as “the sickly, stagnant September jobs report,” and that “only in an era of depressingly diminished expectations could the September jobs report be called a good one.”
While in months past, a shrinking labor pool had contributed to the percent unemployed, it appears that the total number of workers has increased by 873,000, which, according to CNBC, is “the highest one-month jump in 29 years.” Pethokoukis continued that if labor force participation rate had remained at the same rate as it was when Obama first came to office, unemployment would actually be 10.7 percent:
The shrunken workforce remains shrunken. If the labor force participation rate was the same as when President Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 10.7%. If the participation rate had just stayed steady since the start of the year, the unemployment rate would be 8.4% vs. 8.3%. Where’s the progress?…even the artificially depressed 7.8% unemployment rate is way above the 5.6% unemployment rate the White House predicted for September 2012 if Congress passed the $800 billion stimulus package back in 2009.
If this is the October surprise, some like Jack Welch are concluding it’s fair to say it may have been shipped from Chicago:
Already Welch has been attacked by the New York Times and Huffington Post, and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis was forced to address the comments on CNBC this morning, referring to Welch’s tweet as “ludicrous,” and saying “I have the highest regard for our professionals who do the calculations.”
As more Americans give up looking for work, the labor force participation rate continues to be one of the most important factors in answering, “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” And perhaps even more important, “do you think you’ll be better off after another four years under Obama?”