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The Obama Recovery: 30 worst months of unemployment in the last 25 years

Posted: May 26, 2012 at 3:59 am   /   by

Polls show that the majority of people in America believe we are still in a recession. No doubt, the elites in Washington and New York hear this and cluck their tongues, hissing derisively about the silly peasants in flyover country who don’t even know that the recession ended in 2009.

Okay, fine, the way a recession is most commonly defined today, the recession ended in 2009. But did this larger period of economic stagnation called the Great Recession end then too? In terms of GDP, we have recovered somewhat from the floor we were on after the crash. But saying that was the end of it is kind of like saying that the Great Depression ended in 1934. Employment did recover significantly from its bottom, but the Depression certainly didn’t end. Really, the Depression didn’t end until after WWII, yet strangely,  FDR got credit for making the Depression better when he almost surely did exactly the opposite: Government policies in that era dramatically delayed and suppressed what would otherwise have been a natural recovery.

In our case, similarly, GDP has gone positive and the stock market has recovered, but the employment situation has not recovered. The government—and the Obama Administration, naturally—keep reporting drops in the unemployment rate, but those drops are happening because people are leaving the labor market, and are thus not counted in the denominator of the equation anymore.

In other words, people are giving up trying to find work, and Obama is taking credit for it.

But according to statistics compiled at the Weekly Standard, Barack Obama’s employment record is historically abysmal (HT: Family Security Matters):

The federal government’s Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes monthly tallies for the employment-population ratio.  That stat shows something rather straightforward:  Among those who are living in America and are free to pursue employment, what percentage are employed?  (The bureau excludes those who are under 16 years old, are active-duty military, or are — in the bureau’s own words — “inmates of institutions (for example, penal and mental facilities, homes for the aged),” from its tallies.)

The result . . .

the 30 . . . worst months for employment in the past 25 years have all come after the most recent recession ended, in June 2009.  In other words, they’ve all come during the Obama “recovery.”

Obama hasn’t presided over a recovery, he’s presided over decline and stagnation and called it a recovery:

What’s more, under every other president during the past 25 years (spanning from the later stages of the Reagan presidency through the entire George W. Bush presidency), the employment-population ratio was always over 60 percent — every single month, for 260 consecutive months.  In vivid contrast, with the exception of the month in which he took office (January 2009) and his first full month in office (February 2009), the employment-population ratio under Obama has always been under 60 percent — every single month, for 38 consecutive months.  (For 32 consecutive months — from September 2009 to the present day — it’s been under 59 percent.)

Obama’s best is worse than all the others’ worst!

In fact, the worst non-Obama month in the past 25 years was December 2008, when the employment-population ratio was 61.0 percent under George W. Bush.  Comparatively, Obama’s best month to date (not counting January 2009, when he entered midstream) was his first, February 2009, when the employment-population ratio was 60.3 percent. In other words, over the past 25 years, the worst month under any other president has beaten the best month under Obama.

read the whole thing and see the list of the months here

If the American people give Barack Obama another term, it will be because they were unaware of these facts, not because they were aware of them and found them acceptable. This election comes down to one thing: Can Obama, with the media’s constant help, hide the truth.

Christopher Cook

Christopher Cook

Managing Editor at Western Free Press
Christopher Cook is a writer, editor, and political commentator. He is the president of Castleraine, Inc., a consulting firm providing a diverse array of services to corporate, public policy, and not-for-profit clients.

Ardently devoted to the cause of human freedom, he has worked at the confluence of politics, activism, and public policy for more than a decade. He co-wrote a ten-part series of video shorts on economics, and has film credits as a researcher on 11 political documentaries, including Citizens United's notorious film on Hillary Clinton that became the subject of a landmark Supreme Court decision. He is the founder of several activist endeavors, including (now a part of Western Free Press) and He is currently the managing editor of and principal contributor to
Christopher Cook

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The Obama Recovery: 30 worst months of unemployment in the last 25 years