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Friday, April 5, 2013

What Was the Unemployment Rate When Obama Took Office? (March 2013 update)

Unemployment Rate When Obama Took Office? Updated for March 2015 HERE!

Has the Unemployment Rate Decreased Since Obama Took Office? (March 2015 update HERE)

Click HERE for all published jobs reports and updates for 2011 through 2015 to date.

The following numbers are for the month of March 2013.  For current numbers, please click one of the links above.

What was the unemployment rate when Bush left office and Obama was inaugurated? 7.8%

What was the unemployment rate after Obama's first full month in office (February 2009)?  8.3%

What was the unemployment rate at peak?  10.0%

What is today's (March 2013's) unemployment rate?   7.6%

How many people were looking for work when Obama was inaugurated; how many were working?  And how many people are looking for work and how many are employed now?
  • Read below the graph.
  • The following chart shows the unemployment rate in three month intervals plus month-by-month for the latest three months:  

Why are there two lines, one for "Seas Adjusted" and one for "Unadjusted"?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics uses seasonal adjustments to adjust for the volatility in the labor market from one month to the next.  The relatively even red line above shows the unemployment rate based on seasonally adjusted numbers.  The jagged green line shows the unemployment rate based on "real", "raw" numbers; the unadjusted rate.  Notice that the green line goes up in January (after holiday layoffs) and July (school-related layoffs), and it goes down in October and April, which are strong months for workers.  (Employees are all back to school in October, and employers are staffing up for the holidays.  Schools are also full in April and employers are starting to staff up for summer, construction, vacation venues, etc.)  The red line helps us to compare the unemployment rate over a period of months; the green line, however, reflects "reality":  Your friends, neighbors, and family members actually working or not working.  

  • What Caused the Rise in Unemployment When Obama Took Office?  Obama caused the unemployment rate to rise?  (Continue reading; the answer  is below.)
  •  What Was the Unemployment Rate When Bush Took Office?  How high did it rise?  (The answer is also below.)  

The Unemployment Rate When Obama Took Office:
  • For the record, when Obama took office in January 2009, the "official" unemployment rate in seasonally adjusted numbers was 7.8%, with 12,079,000 people reporting themselves as unemployed and actively looking.  142,153,000 people were working in January 2009.*  (These numbers are adjusted slightly since original publication as the Bureau of Labor Statistics updates its numbers.  The original January 2009 unemployment rate reported by the BLS in February 2009 was 7.6%)  
  • In "raw" numbers not adjusted for seasonal variance, the unemployment rate was 8.5% with 13,009,000 people reporting themselves as unemployed and actively looking for work.  140,436,000 people were working in numbers not adjusted for seasonal variance.
The Unemployment Rate at its Peak: 
  • At the "trough" (bottom in terms of jobs) of the recession in late 2009/early 2010, the "official" unemployment rate in seasonally adjusted numbers climbed to 10.0% in October 2009 with 15,382,000 people (out of a labor force of 153,887,000) reporting themselves as unemployed.   138,421,000 were working in October 2009; however, the lowest number of people working was reported in December 2009, when 138,025,000 people (in seasonally adjusted numbers) were working.    
  • In "raw" numbers not adjusted for seasonal variance, the unemployment rate reached a peak of 10.6% in January 2010 with 16,147,000 (out of a labor force of 152,957,000) reporting themselves as unemployed and actively looking for work.  Only 136,809,000 were working (in "raw" unadjusted numbers) in January 2010.

The Unemployment Rate NOW:
  • Now, in March 2013, the "official" unemployment rate in seasonally adjusted numbers is at 7.6%, with 11,742,000 (out of a large labor force of 155,028,000) unemployed and actively looking for work.  143,286,000 people are working now.  (Last month 143,492,000 were working.  This is a decrease of 206,000 people working in seasonally adjusted numbers.)  The unemployment rate decreased by one tenth (.1%) of a percent in March 2013 as unemployment decreased by  290,000 and as 496,000 people left the labor force in March.  We have 321,000 more people in the labor force than we did in March 2012 and we have 1,266,000 more people employed than we did in March 2012.  (The unemployment rate has now decreased 0.6% in the year since March 2012.) 
  • In more volatile unadjusted "raw" numbers the unemployment rate is now 7.6%, a decrease of 0.5% since February 2013, and a decline of 0.8% since March 2012, a year ago.  In "raw" real numbers, 11,815,000 (out of a labor force of 154,316,000) are unemployed and actively looking for work.  This is an decrease of 685,000 actively unemployed people in raw numbers since February 2013.  142,698,000 are working now in "raw" numbers unadjusted for seasonal variation.  (This is an increase of 470,000 people working since last month.)

To Summarize the Unemployment Rate Now Compared to When Obama Took Office:
  • Using seasonally adjusted numbers, the unemployment rate was 7.8% (and rising quickly) when Obama took office, and it is 7.6% (and falling) today.  12,079,000 were officially unemployed back then, and 11,742,000 are unemployed today.  
  • Using nonseasonally adjusted numbers, the unemployment rate was already 8.5% when Obama took office, and it is 7.6% today.   13,009,000 were officially unemployed in "raw" numbers back then, and 11,815,000 are officially unemployed in "raw" numbers now.  Remember that "unadjusted numbers" or "numbers not adjusted for seasonal variation" are the numbers of real people, your friends, family, and neighbors, who are employed or unemployed. 

What Was the Alternate U-6 (U6) Unemployment Rate When Obama Took Office?
(I started to keep track of the U-6 number here in September 2012.  The U-6 number is based on the total of unemployed and underemployed as a percent of the total of the civilian labor force and the underemployed.  The underemployed include two groups of people:  1.  The number of people working part-time who want full-time work but can't find that work.  2.  The number of people who have not looked for work in the past month but are now ready to look for work.  These people did not look for work in the past month for one of these reasons:  Discouragement, sickness, childcare issues, transportation, education or training, "other".  All of these people had looked for work during the past year.)    
  • The alternate unemployment rate when Obama took office in January 2009 was 14.1% based on the most recent revisions available.  By February 2009, it had grown to 15.1%.  (The data reported in February reflects data collected as of the week of February 12th, 2009.) 
  • The alternate unemployment rate (U-6) peaked at 17.4% in October 2009. 
  • The alternate unemployment rate was 14.3% in February 2013.  It dropped to 13.8% last month, in March 2013, the largest one month drop in several years.

What Was the Unemployment Rate When Bush Took Office in January 2001?  
  • In seasonally adjusted numbers, the unemployment rate was 4.2% when Bush took office in January 2001.  The unemployment rate continued at 4.2% during Bush's first full month in office, February 2009.  6,023,000 people were officially unemployed at that time.    
  • In nonadjusted "raw" numbers, it was 4.7% when Bush took office in January 2001.  6,647,000 people were unemployed in "raw" numbers at that time.  
  • The adjusted unemployment rate went up to 6.3% by June 2003, and then it began to decrease.  That's an absolute increase of 2.1% in 29 months.  That's a relative increase of 50% in 29 months before it turned down.  
  • It went down to 4.4% in late 2006 and again in May 2007, and then began to increase, reaching 7.8%, an increase of 3.3% by the time Bush left office. That's a relative increase of 75% in 20 months.      
  • The unemployment rate went from 7.8% when Obama took office and 8.3% during Obama's first full month in office to the peak of 10.0% discussed above before it turned down.  That's an increase of 2.2%.   That's a relative increase of 28% in 9 months before the unemployment rate turned down.
  • The following chart compares and contrasts the relative increase in the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate under Bush and Obama during their first 40 months (from Inauguration until March of their respective fifth years in office).  The rate under Obama jumped up further in his first year in office, but came down more quickly.  Under both presidents, the unemployment rate comes down and goes up in any 3-6 month period.     

What Caused the Rise in the Unemployment Rate When Obama Took Office?  Why did the Unemployment Rate Continue to Increase for 11 months after Obama took office?

These are questions I have received in my email, and I thought I would answer here. just mentioned, the unemployment rate was on its way up with a bullet starting in early 2008. The unemployment rate was 4.4% in mid 2007 before the full impact of the housing crash hit the labor market. Employment in construction hit a max in mid 2006 and had already started down by mid 2007, but most other employment sectors were not impacted. But by late 2007, the entire economy was starting to feel the impact of the housing crash. In a year and a half, from June 2007 until January 2009, the unemployment rate went from 4.4% to the 7.8% discussed above. 

That's why we say that Obama inherited a rapidly-increasing unemployment rate. Why did it continue to rise after Obama took office? It takes a while for any government policy to take effect. Both TARP, the bank bailout signed by Bush in late 2008, and ARRA, the stimulus signed by Obama in February 2009, needed time to take effect, and that simply did not happen immediately. How long does it take to turn around the proverbial aircraft carrier vs. a speed boat? However, even though it took 9 months for the unemployment rate to max out (see the graph above) and start decreasing, the rate of increase slowed down by June 2009.

We can also think of the analogy of a fire: If a building is burning down, the fire department is called. It takes time for the fire department to put out the fire; it takes time for the fire to cool; it takes times for the debris to be hauled away. Only then can rebuilding start. And you certainly don't blame the fire department or the people who clean up the debris for the fire, do you? 

The question, "What Caused the Rise in the Unemployment Rate After Obama Took Office?" really makes no sense... The unemployment rate was rising rapidly before Obama took office, and it took a few months for policies to kick in and stem the job bloodbath. A better question would be "What Caused the Rise in the Unemployment Rate Starting in 2007?" The answer to that would be the housing crisis and the resulting crisis in banks and lending institutions. But that is outside the scope of this article.

What sources are you using for the unemployment data?

All of my employment number reports and graphs are based on monthly reports and data published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Monthly numbers reports are based on the monthly Employment Situation Report and Database tables published at the website.
The Employment Situation report includes month over month and year over year jobs numbers. 

The database tables that I use for the numbers here are: 
  1. Employment Level LNS12000000 (Seasonally adjusted) & LNU12000000 (Unadjusted).
  2. Unemployment Level LNS13000000 (Seasonally adjusted) & LNU13000000 (Unadjusted).
  3. Unemployment Rate LNS14000000 (Seasonally adjusted) & LNU14000000 (Unadjusted). 

You can find these tables by searching for these table numbers at the BLS website. My analysis is taken from the monthly BLS data copied to an Excel spreadsheet every month. I calculate detailed percentage increases/decreases, 3 month numbers, year to date numbers, and I compare jobs numbers to those at the time of Obama's inauguration and at the "trough" of the recession.

Has Obama Redefined Unemployment?


No administration can define or redefine unemployment, nor what counts as a job or a worker in the BLS reports.

Changes are made to the questionnaires that are used to determine "employment" from time to time, but these questionnaires have not been changed for years.

My article about the subject is HERE, with links to BLS information about this.

Are independent contractors counted?  What about people who no longer receive unemployment benefits or who have exhausted all of their unemployment benefits?

Someone left a comment:
The one thing none of these reports show nor do any of the Government reports, and that is the number of independent contractors that are unemployed or the number of unemployed that the benefits have run out and they gave up on trying. These added in would make these numbers on the reports look miserable.
Both groups of people, the independent contractors and the unemployed without benefits who are still actively looking for work, ARE included in these numbers.  ALL numbers of people who are unemployed, working part-time, or who want work have come down significantly over the past year to 18 months.


  1. Okay let's start again with the SPIN on numbers you use.. 1st off WITHOUT KNOWING the actual number of UNEMPLOYEED folks your numbers are flawed.. but let's start with the TRUE numbers from the labor board.
    I would love to be able to show you the chart from the labor dept. showing Unempolyeed folks going UP and UP. but here's a Non chart version
    I ran a report from the labor statistics website. folks UNEMPLOYEED 16 and OLDER . this number is Per THOUSAND .. so
    JAN 2009 81293 Unemployeed
    MARCH 2013 90436 Unempoyeed ..
    Again it was a report I ran. So I'm NOT sure how you are comming up with your skewed numbers..
    YOU may delete my msg. YOU may NOT like what you hear or what I say . .But facts are facts. I'm middle class. and pay MORE TAXES now since Obama took office. My pay checks are LESS . people are STILL OUT of work for years.. our National Debt has darn near DOUBLED since Obama took office..

    1. Those aren't numbers of people who are unemployed; those are numbers of people who are NOT IN THE LABOR FORCE: People who are retired; 16 year olds in high school, people home with their kids, people disabled, etc.

      Look, I probably know more about jobs numbers than anyone outside of the BLS and some labor economists.. Do NOT come on my blog and try to argue with me unless you know what you are talking about. As you have indicated by your comment here, you DON'T.

      "Facts are facts": Except that you have no idea what is and what is not a fact. Shame on you for being willfully ignorant.

  2. Again, I don't know this poster above me, but I understand his/her concern. I know full well that you are of liberal persuasion, I on the other hand am conservative. You like Obama I think, I believe he fit's in well with some of the worst Presidents America ever had, if not the worst. So now that we have that straight, I think we know each others beginning perspectives. So let's talk about the only numbers that really matter, the U-6 numbers.

    The U-3 number that the press quotes actually belies the truth. I believe it's used because it is not as depressing as the real U-6 number. Politicians like it because it doesn't sound quite so bad, the press really has no clue, and you headline it because it also favors the administration, and I assume you like this administration. So what is it now, 7.5% The U-6 number {and you do mention it) was 13.9 in April, it went up last month from 13.8. That's a much more depressing number because it represents an awful lot of people wanting a decent job, but are unable to find one.

    This U-6 rate that includes those currently unemployed, those discouraged from looking, those currently looking, and those working part time but needing and wanting a full time job. During the entire Bush presidency, all 96 months, the U-6 number averaged 9.25%. That's from February 2001 through January 2009. During Obama's 51 months in office the U-6 rate has averaged 15.8%

    Now what makes that percentage so staggering is what it represents. Surely 12 or 13 million people unemployed is a big number an cause for concern, but when you add in the long term unemployed, the discouraged workers that just gave up, maybe a previous two worker household making do on one income because the other can't find a job, another 7.9 million people working part time because they can't find a full time job, and the millions that are just no longer counted anywhere that were once looking for a job but decided to go back to school or retire sooner than they planned because they just couldn't find a good job, or any job. Suddenly Molly the 12 or 13 million in the U-3 rate doubles. Somewhere around 25 million Americans unemployed, or underemployed, or not counted at all anywhere any longer.

    Try this on for size. The real number of unemployed and under employed would be about the number of people, all the people mind you currently living in the states of Kansas, Utah, Nevada, New Mexico, West Virginia, Nebraska, Idaho, Hawaii, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Montana, Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming ..... That's about 25 million Americans, and that's about how many are really unemployed and underemployed today.

    So putting a good spin on what a great job this president is doing is little comfort to the nearly 25 million Americans that would comprise the entire populations of 19 of our 50 states if they were all lumped together.

    1. First of all, anyone who still defends Bush, conservative, liberal, or some other persuasion is...well, is somehow blind to the reality of the man. The man and his cohorts lied to us to get us into an unnecessary war, spent trillions in borrow-and-spend tax cuts for the rich, those unending wars, as well as Medicare Part D.

      If the U-6 rate is higher than it was during the Bush era (and it is), it is hard to understand how people would blame Obama. It's clear to most of us that we are still trying to dig out of the chaos that was started by those Bush years. When jobs started to disappear by the hundreds of thousands in early to mid 2008, Obama wasn't even a front runner. By the time he took office, we were staring down the barrel of the worst economic catastrophe to hit this country, actually to hit the world, in 80 (eighty) years!

      Why is it a surprise to you or to anyone that it was going to take some time to get out of this mess? Why is it a surprise to you or to anyone that the unemployment rates, the regular unemployment rate and the U-6 rates are still higher than we all want them to be?

      The official unemployment has ALWAYS been the U-3, and it is calculated very similarly all over the world. I've written about this again and again.. just use the search bar to find articles here about the unemployment rate and what it means.

      About the 11 million unemployed: That includes the long-term unemployed. If people are looking for work, at least ONE effort per month, they are counted in the ranks of the unemployed.

      You do know that the number of people working part-time who want full-time work is declining?

      The number of people not in the labor force (people not working and not looking for work) who say they want a job and have actually looked for work in the past year is small and it is declining. The number of people not in the labor force (people not working and not looking for work) who say they want a job and have NOT looked for work in the past year is actually very stable and that number has also gone down.

      There is really no place for these supposed millions of extra "discouraged" people to hide in the BLS numbers. All of the U-6 numbers are coming down.

    2. I was trying to keep this on the subject of employment/unemployment, since after all that is the focus of your website and the discussion at hand, but since you interjected your negative political views on Bush that were off subject, I will rebut in kind. Also I am dumbfounded as to why you thought I was defending Bush because I stated a statistical fact about the labor participation rate during the Bush presidency. But since you chose to go down that path I will follow with a different perspective.

      I was not a huge fan of Bush, but he was a far better President than Obama could ever hope to be in your wildest dreams. If I am blind to the realities of Bush the man, then what does that make the believers in our current President, blind, deaf and dumb? You mentioned three things in particular, the wars, tax cuts for the rich, and Medicare part D.

      The Democrat list of those that supported the removal of Saddam Hussein by force at the time, goes like this. Bill Clinton, Madeline Albright, Sandy Berger, Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, Nancy Pelosi, Bob Graham, Al Gore, Ted Kennedy, Robert Byrd, Jay Rockefeller, Henry Waxman, Hillary Clinton. All those same people now are against the war after being for the war. I am not defending the war, in hindsight I believe it was unnecessary, a waste of lives and money, but liberals are either clueless as to the reality, or conveniently forgot the political climate at the time. Each and every one on this list made strong powerful arguments in speeches declaring their beliefs that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction and America needed to remove him by force. So then your statement, “the man and his cohorts lied to us to get us into an unnecessary war” comment was misinformed at best, outright partisan re writing of history at worst. Full quotes and dates of speeches above available on request.
      And what about these tax cuts for the rich? You like pie charts, so envision these slices. According to a CBO report, 85% of the Bush tax cuts went to those earning less than $250,000 a year, and that is the bench mark dollar amount that Obama always uses to distinguish between the rich and everyone else. Also according to the CBO report, in 1980 the top 5% of income earners in America paid 37% of all the income tax revenue collected, while the entire bottom half of the nation, a full 50% of all the income earners in America paid a combined total of 7%. By 2009, when Obama took over the helm, and after the Bush tax cuts, the top 5% were paying 59% of all the income tax collected while the bottom 50% had fallen to paying only 2.25%. You can’t chalk that all up to the rich getting richer either, because also according to this same report, as of 2009 and again, after the Bush tax cuts, the rich pay a much larger share of the total tax burden than their representative income should dictate. The top 1% earn 17% of all the income earned in America, while the bottom 50% earn 13% of all the income. Yet the top 1% pays 37% of all taxes paid, while the bottom 50% pays a little over 2%. So the rich not paying their fair share that liberals and Democrats feed on and espouse at every opportunity, is nothing more than political nonsense and deception. It is actually the poor and middle class that are not paying their fair share.

      End of part 1

    3. And last a shorter rebut on Medicare Part-D. It is amusing that Democrats can somehow find a way to criticize Bush for instituting Medicare part-D because it was not fully funded and would add to the deficit, and part-d was a program to help those most in need, our retired seniors, something liberals and Democrats would normally be in favor of. Recent actuary studies show that part D is costing taxpayers 46% less than originally forecast, and premiums for seniors are costing them 43% less than forecast. And yet these same liberals and Democrats have a blind eye to the costs of Obama’s Affordable Care Act that is anything but affordable. The cost to the average family is rising, some places skyrocketing. The cost to the tax payer and the added deficit has now doubled according to the latest CBO report, tripled according to other reports. Where Medicare Part-D is costing taxpayers about 62 billion a year, latest Obama care reports tag the cost to taxpayers 176 billion to 250 billion a year. The costs to families that was sold as a reduction of about $2500 per year per family, is now estimated as an increase of about $1500 per year per family as a direct result of Obama care implementation.
      It is the absolute hate for conservatives like Bush that makes liberals so blind to the realities about them.

      End of part 2

    4. And then lastly the actual topic at hand, the economy.
      You say, “If the U-6 rate is higher than it was during the Bush era (and it is), it is hard to understand how people would blame Obama. It's clear to most of us that we are still trying to dig out of the chaos that was started by those Bush years. When jobs started to disappear by the hundreds of thousands in early to mid 2008, Obama wasn't even a front runner. By the time he took office, we were staring down the barrel of the worst economic catastrophe to hit this country, actually to hit the world, in 80 (eighty) years!”
      The blame is not that it got high, the blame is that it remains high after nearly 4 ½ years. You say that this was the worst catastrophe in 80 years. I beg to differ. When Ronald Reagan took the helm from the disastrous presidency of Jimmy carter, we were not only in job loss free fall; we were also in an inflation free for all. I don’t know if you are old enough to remember the Carter/Reagan years, or if you only have read about them, I lived through them.
      When Reagan became president we had similar same scenario as when Obama became president. Job losses, though not as many, were still severe, and had the population of the United Sates been the same, the job losses most likely would have also been equal. In 1980 the population was 226,000,000 and 305,000,000 in 2009, so naturally not as many people equals not as many jobs to lose.
      The almost complete collapse of the savings and loan industry mimicked the near banking collapse, and there was one more monster that Reagan had to slay, the inflation monster, Obama had nothing close to that.
      The Reagan recovery started in official records in November 1982, and lasted 92 months without a recession until July 1990, when the tax increases of the 1990 budget deal killed it. During this seven-year recovery, the economy grew by almost one-third. In 1984 alone real economic growth boomed by 6.8%, the highest in 50 years. Nearly 20 million new jobs were created during the recovery, increasing U.S. civilian employment by almost 20%. Unemployment fell to 5.3% by 1989. The rise in inflation during the Nixon and Carter years was reversed. Inflation that was as high as 14% in 1980 was reduced by more than half by 1982, to 6.2%. It was cut in half again for 1983, to 3.2% and has stayed low ever since. Real per-capita disposable income increased by 18% from 1982 to 1989, meaning the American standard of living increased by almost 20% in just seven years, in contrast after more than 4 years of Obama real per capita income has declined. The poverty rate also fell every year from 1984 to 1989, dropping by one-sixth from its peak. And all this during a time that was strikingly similar to today with the added inflation and interest conditions that were far worse than Obama has seen. Inflation was as high as 14% and interest rates peaked at 21%. And yet you defend Obama’s record because he inherited a bad economy. He is a failure, and his policies are a failure.

      End of Part 3

    5. And one last thing.
      The drop in unemployment under Reagan was much more about job creation, while under Obama, it’s been about attrition. The labor participation rate rose for almost all of Reagan’s terms as president. Now you can discount that all you want, but the facts are what they are. Some rate change may be attributed to demographics, but neither all of the sharp rise during Reagan’s tenure, nor all of the sharp decline under Obama can be attributed to demographics alone. The rate was in the high 63% range in 1980 and rose steadily to mid 66% by the end of Reagan’s presidency. In contrast, in February 2009, President Obama’s first full month in office, the labor participation rate was 65.8% and stands at 63.3% as of last month. It has fallen steadily for his entire term as president. When the unemployment rate fell sharply under Reagan it was because optimistic Americans were pouring into the job market — and finding jobs! Under Obama the employment growth has been dismal, and the drop in the unemployment rate has as much to do with more people are going to school, retiring, making do on one income instead of two, filling for and receiving SSI, as it has to do with actual jobs being created, maybe more so.
      Well, I said I was going to keep it short and will you just look at this novelette.
      Molly, you may very well be a nice person, but liberals have a skewed vision of historical facts about conservatives and their policies and achievements, while at the same time wear rose colored glasses and blinders when it comes to liberals and Democrats and their policies. I had to set the record straight.


    6. Hi Mr. Truth...I'm going to have to reply a bit at a time,as this is a very busy week for me.

      "When Ronald Reagan took the helm from the disastrous presidency of Jimmy carter, we were not only in job loss free fall; we were also in an inflation free for all. I don’t know if you are old enough to remember the Carter/Reagan years, or if you only have read about them, I lived through them. "

      I was working, getting raises by the bundle full and doing extremely well during the Carter years.. A family member had started a business in the mid 1970's and it was booming by the Carter years. Things tightened up in the early 80's, and life was simply not as grand; I remember constant concerns about the epidemic of homelessness. By the late 80's, people seemed to be doing better, but I worked in the finance sector and the Crash of 1987 was not good at all... We feared another recession.

      About job growth in the Reagan years:

      Job growth in the Carter Years

      Comparing the situation that Obama inherited with the situation that Reagan inherited:

      Reagan and Obama: No, Things were NOT the same!

    7. One more thing before I leave to do other things: OF COURSE the labor participation rate has gone down during Obama's time in office! Everybody expected it to! You can find articles about the labor force participation rate dating back to the early 2000's in which a drop in the labor force (already ongoing back then) was expected to continue.

      Now try this: Pull apart the labor force participation rate by age group and sex. Six groups: 16-24, 25-54, 55+ men, women. Graph it. What kind of patterns do you see?

    8. I'd like to straighten out a few of the "facts" as you called them in your Reagan and Obama: No, Things Were Not the Same Article.

      You said : The recession in 1981 was a Reagan recession. He inherited a DECLINING unemployme­nt rate from Carter, a DECLINING inflation rate, and an INCREASING number of jobs.

      Let's just look at hard data, no partisan spin from you or me.

      Well first of, you cannot look at a few months worth of unemployment data and make a statement as you did. It is the big picture that must be taken into account, and that picture according to the BLS data actually looked like this. During Carters first month in office the unemployment rate was 7.5% ... his last month in office the rate was 7.5%. During his first year 1977 the rate started to come down until finishing the year at 6.4%. Then for all of 1978 1nd 1979 it bounced between the high 5% and mid 6% range. It began climbing again in 1980 reaching 6.9 by April and then climbing into the 7% range for the rest of 1980, and stayed between 7.2% and 7.8% until Reagan became president in January 1981, when the rate was at 7.5% for the month.

      So the real picture shows that during Carters tenure the rate fell for the first year, stabilized for the next 2 and then was rising again his final year. That is the BLS data and no amount of massaging history can change that.

    9. You said : The recession in 1981 was a Reagan recession. He inherited a DECLINING unemployme­nt rate from Carter, a DECLINING inflation rate, and an INCREASING number of jobs.

      Now let's talk about inflation with only hard facts again Molly.

      Carters first month in office, January 1977 had the inflation rate calculated at 5.2%.

      For the entire year 1977 the rate was 6.5%
      For the entire year 1978 the rate was 7.6%
      For the entire year 1979 the rate was 11.3%
      for the entire year 1980 the rate was 13.5%

      That's the big picture and the real picture. Because the rate was calculated at 11.8 in his last month as President, January 1981, any reasonable unbiased view of the Carter presidency would conclude that inflation was spiraling out of control through all of his presidency regardless of a slightly lower rate when at the end.

    10. You said : The recession in 1981 was a Reagan recession. He inherited a DECLINING unemployme­nt rate from Carter, a DECLINING inflation rate, and an INCREASING number of jobs.

      Now let's talk about jobs with only hard facts again Molly.

      Carter inherited a pretty decent economy from Ford, not great but decent. The last year of the Ford Presidency saw 2,431,000 jobs created. That economy was growing and expanding when Carter was elected, and so in his first year in office 1977 jobs created were actually:

      New jobs in 1977 were 3,960,000
      New jobs in 1978 were 4,266,000
      New jobs in 1979 were 1,995,000
      New jobs in 1980 were 412,000

      Any reasonable unbiased conclusion would be that jobs were decreasing not increasing as you say. Molly, you did the same thing with the unemployment rate, the inflation rate, and jobs created. You took a very short term snapshot and then drew a wrong conclusion for your readers. But the big picture on all three show that Carter left Reagan a rising unemployment rate, rising inflation, and falling job numbers, the exact opposit of what you wrote.
      Every bit of this data is from the BLS.


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