David Stockman • July 4, 2015
America is better off when President Obama is out on the stump bloviating and boasting rather than in Washington actively doing harm. But the whoppers he just told the students at the University of Wisconsin are beyond the pale. Said our spinmeister-in-chief:
And the unemployment rate is now down to 5.3 percent. (Applause.) Keep in mind, when I came into office it was hovering around 10 percent. All told, we’ve now seen 64 straight months of private sector job growth, which is a new record — (applause) — new record — 12.8 million new jobs all told.
That’s a pack of context-free factoids. There is still such a thing as the business cycle, and only economically illiterate hacks—-like those who work on the White House speech writing staff—-would measure anything from the deep V-shaped but momentary bottom that happened to occur during Obama’s second year in office. What counts is not that we’ve had a bounce after a terrible bust, but where we are now on a trend basis.
The answer is absolutely nowhere!
We are now 29 quarters from the pre-crisis peak and total non-farm labor hours utilized by the US economy are no higher than they were in Q4 2007. In other words, if you use a common unit of measure—–labor hours rather than job slots which treat coal-miners and part-time pizza delivery boys alike—–there have been no new units of employment at all. Our teleprompter reading President is actually tooting his own horn about recycled hours and “born again” jobs and doesn’t even know it.