March 9, 2012
Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that 227,000 jobs were added in the month of February. While the announcement of these new jobs is welcomed news, other aspects of today’s report demonstrate that Americans continue to suffer through a painfully tepid recovery made even slower by the president’s policies. For instance, the labor force participation rate, which measures the percentage of able Americans working or looking for work, was near a 30-year low in February. If the percentage of Americans in the work force were as high today as at the beginning of this recession, unemployment would actually be 11.2 percent. In addition, the number of unemployed Americans looking for work in the month of February increased by 48,000 from January. And unemployment is once again above 8 percent, now for the 37th month in a row, further extending the worst unemployment crisis since the Great Depression.
- 37: The unemployment rate has been at or above 8 percent for 37 consecutive months. Before president Obama took office, unemployment had not been above 8 percent for 37 consecutive months since the Great Depression. Three years ago, the Obama Administration said that unemployment would never reach 8 percent if the “stimulus” was approved.
- 8.3%: The unemployment rate for the month of February was 8.3 percent, unchanged from January. From March 2009 (the month after the failed $1.2 trillion “stimulus” was enacted) through February 2012, unemployment has averaged 9.3 percent.
- 6%: The level at which the Obama Administration claimed unemployment would be today if the “stimulus” was signed into law was 6 percent.
- 63.9%: The labor force participation rate, which measures the percentage of able Americans working or looking for work, was at a near 30-year low of 63.9 percent in February. Much of the recent decline in the unemployment rate can be attributed to the historic drop in labor force participation as more and more American give up on finding a job. That means that 36.1 percent of able-bodied, non-elderly Americans are not even looking for a job in the Obama economy.
- 11.2%: If the labor force participation rate were at the same level it was before the recession started the unemployment rate would be 11.2 percent today.
- 15.2%: The rate of “underemployment” or “real unemployment,” including the unemployed, those who want work but have stopped searching in this economy, and those who are forced to work part-time because they cannot find full-time employment is 15.2 percent.
- 12,806,000: There were 12.8 million unemployed Americans looking for work in the month of February, up by 48,000 from January.
- 8,119,000: The number of Americans who worked only part-time in February because they could not find full-time employment was 8.1 million. The number of people working part-time for economic reasons reached 8 million for the first time in history in January 2009 and has remained above 8 million for 37 consecutive months.
- 2,608,000: The number of people who are available to work and have looked for a job at some point in the last year but are not counted as unemployed because they gave up their search is now 2.6 million.
- 1,006,000: The number of discouraged people who stopped looking for work because they believed there were no jobs available is now 1 million.
- 23,533,000: The total number of “underemployed” Americans is 23.5 million, including those unemployed (12.7 million), those who are no longer looking for work (2.8 million), and those who are working part-time because no other work is available (8.2 million).
- 40: The average number of weeks it takes for job seekers to find a job. The average time it takes for people to find a job is up from 19.8 weeks in January 2009 when President Obama took office.
- 5,426,000: The number of Americans unemployed and searching for work for more than 27 weeks in the month of February. Since President Obama took office in January 2009, the number of people unemployed for more than 27 weeks has increased by 100 percent.
- 864,000: The economy has shed 864,000 net jobs from February 2009—when the Democrats’ “stimulus” was signed into law—through February 2012.
- 15.1%: The official poverty rate in 2010 according to the Census Bureau—up from 14.3 percent in 2009. This was the third consecutive annual increase in the poverty rate and the highest poverty rate since 1993.
- 46,200,000: The number of Americans who were in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009—the fourth consecutive annual increase in the number of people in poverty. The number of Americans in poverty in 2010 is the largest number in the 52 years in which poverty estimates have been published by the Census Bureau.
- $3,378: Since President Obama took office, median household incomes have dropped by $3,378, falling to its lowest level since 1996. Household income has fallen by 6.4 percent since 2007.
- 46,514,238: The number of Americans receiving food stamps as of December 2011 was 46.5 million, the most in any month in history, surpassed only by September and October. Today, 15 percent of Americans receive food stamps, an increase of 40 percent since President Obama took office.
- 1,392,000: The number of first time job seekers that are unemployed is now 1.4 million, up 132,000 from January. The number of new workers who cannot find a job has been above 1 million for 33 months.
- 23.8%: The unemployment rate among job seekers between the ages of 16 and 19 is 23.8 percent, up from 23.2 percent in January. Youth unemployment has been above 23 percent for 32 months, the longest streak since the Great Depression.
- 14.1%: The unemployment rate among African Americans in February was 14.1 percent, up from 13.6 percent in January.
- 10.7%: The unemployment rate among Hispanics and Latinos was 10.7 percent, up from 10.5 percent in January.
- 12.9%: The unemployment rate among Americans without high school diplomas.
- $1,172,000,000,000: The total cost of the Democrats’ “stimulus.” CBO estimates the cost of the bill will reach $825 billion and interest on the debt for the bill will be at least $347 billion.
For additional information, contact:
The House Republican Conference Policy Office