We now have the January Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers. Of course, they will later be adjusted to be somewhat worse than these first reports, but basically the final verdict is in on employment during the George W. Bush years. It's much, much, much worse than the numbers reported. Needless to say, the incompetent mainstream press is incapable of reporting it.
The official unemployment rate jumped to 7.6 %. That's a jump of .4 percentage points since December. It's quite a bit higher than it was in January 2001, when Clinton left office, when it was 4.2%. Ho hum, just another “slowdown,” a fairly bad one, true, but that doesn't look too awful.
Can anyone dig into these numbers a bit to get the real truth? The real numbers that matter are the number of jobs as a proportion of the working age population. Even more trenchant is full-time employment. Since January 2001, the working age population grew 21 million. By modern historical standards, with an economy neither growing in real terms nor contracting, 13.5 million of that increase would have been employed, and 13.0 million would have had full-time jobs.
In fact, using the BLS's seasonally adjusted numbers, only 4.25 million of that 21 million increase found any jobs whatsoever. Almost 9 million who would have worked if jobs were plentiful have either been added to the ranks of the officially unemployed, or they have simply dropped out of the work force entirely. And get this: with a massive increase in the number of part-time jobs during that period, when the absolute number of full-time jobs should have increased by 13.0 million just to stay even with population growth, THE ABSOLUTE NUMBER OF FULL-TIME JOBS ACTUALLY DROPPED BY 300,000 IN BUSH'S 8 YEAR ADMINISTRATION.
Ponder that one for awhile, and you begin to get a grasp of how bad the employment situation left by George W. and the Republicans really is. In real terms, the American economy lost 13.3 million full-time jobs in that period. That's a total workforce contraction of 10%.
On top of it, the retained wealth of most Americans who have any has dropped about 40-50% over the past year. That's fundamental, structural change. Those in Washington contentedly sucking on the public teat we provide for them – and that's pretty much everyone in Washington, whether they work directly for the government or not -- maybe don't quite get that. Yeah, they know things are not good “out there,” but they figure it's just another cyclical thing that “the market” will eventually correct, especially if we throw a few tax cuts to fuel it along.
By the way, those are the seasonally adjusted numbers. Since we are comparing the same single month in each period, perhaps the raw unadjusted numbers are equally or even more appropriate to use. Fine, but you might want to know first that the unadjusted numbers are even worse. OK, lags might matter, too, since no President cn be expected to work magic in the first few months in office at least. Trust me: the numbers change a bit, but the basic story remains the same.