Friday, September 16, 2011

The Stimulus Package Job-Creation Deception

I must have heard this said a hundred times: The Stimulus Package has saved or created 2.5 million jobs. In fact, the President and Vice President have staked this claim in numerous speeches. But, there's a couple of big problems with that claim.

First, the number of unemployed Americans in this country has gone from 11.1 million, when Obama took office in January of 2009, to today's 14 million. That, to me, is a loss of 2.9 million unemployed when the Stimulus Package was supposedly creating 2.5 million jobs.

Secondly, according to the data provided by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), the workforce has remained relatively flat at 154 million workers over the last 32 months. This despite additions through normal population growth. In reality, the workforce should have grown to just under 160 million by now. But, instead, it lost all that growth because, statistically, 6 million workers are being categorized as "discouraged." In a nutshell, a discouraged worker is a special unemployed individual who is no longer being counted as part of the workforce because they, for a variety of reasons, have temporarily stopped looking for a job. Usually, when the employment picture improves, these people will start looking for work again and, then, will be counted back in as a valid unemployed worker. Of course, when this happens, the number of unemployed and the unemployment rate will both rise in response.

While the Stimulus Package might have a legitimate claim to having created some jobs, it's hard to tell when looking at the situation from the top down. That's because, as so noted above, our economy has shed nearly 9 million jobs since Obama took office and since the enactment of the Stimulus bill. That's the reality and that's the truth that is being intentionally hidden when the President claims that the Stimulus Package has created jobs. People understand this and that is why 3 or 4 to 1, Americans give Obama a failing grade on both jobs and on the economy.

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