• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Infographic: Weak Job Growth in the Obama Economy

    Yesterday on Meet the Press, host David Gregory confronted Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod with the grim reality of America’s employment picture, the still-high unemployment rate, and the fact that 315,000 people dropped out of the work force last month, asking “Do the new numbers change the way the president looks at the economy?”

    Axelrod’s muddled reply: “We’ve never hung our hat on one number; and, obviously, we continue to have big challenges.  But let’s recognize that we’ve created 2.9 million private sector jobs in the last 21 months.”

    He’s right not to want to hang his hat on one number, “2.9 million” included. The fact is, new jobs are being added at a far lower rate than a decade ago, as the chart below shows. And it’s that tepid job growth that explains America’s unacceptably high unemployment rate. (continued below chart)

    In their new paper, “Heritage Employment Report: November Jobs Not Quite a Feast,” James Sherk and Rea Hederman, Jr. explain why the unemployment numbers remain bleak:

    One thing is conspicuously missing from this November report—signs of a significant increase in business hiring and labor demand. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that job losses hit a 19-year low in the first quarter of 2011. Businesses are eliminating fewer positions today than at any point in the past two decades. Unemployment remains high not because of layoffs, but because job creation has barely improved since the recession ended in 2009. Fewer businesses are expanding, and fewer entrepreneurs are starting new enterprises. The lack of job creation explains the weak labor market.

    This report shows few signs that this has changed. Employers usually increase hours at work and hire temporary workers before hiring new permanent employees. If hiring had picked up, the report should show rising hours at work and substantial growth in temporary help services. It does not. The length of the average workweek was unchanged in November at 34.3 hours, and the increase in temporary help services (22,300) was small. Average hourly earnings dropped $0.02 to $23.18.

    Further, the huge drop in labor force participation explains almost all of the decrease in the unemployment rate. If the labor force participation rate had remained constant at 64.2 percent, then the unemployment rate would have been 8.9 percent—a statistically insignificant decrease of just 0.1 percent. The average duration of unemployment also rose to a new high of 40.9 weeks. The data show few signs that new hiring has significantly increased.

    Read more of “Heritage Employment Report: November Jobs Not Quite a Feast” at Heritage.org.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    4 Responses to Infographic: Weak Job Growth in the Obama Economy

    1. steve h says:

      That chart seems to emphasize the dire situation we were in during 2008 and 2009 – if anything, this seems to make Obama look good – took a tailspin headed to the earth and gained control of it. Kudos to Obama!

      • Brad - Detroit says:

        The real key to the mess started in Jan. 2007. Remember that date ? Yes, that is when 2/3rd's of the Federal Government was controlled by the Democrats and Bush rolled over on just about every policy and issue the House and Senate put forth. Look at the numbers from 2007 to 2009. That's what tanked the economy. Giving Obama credit is just as disingenious as giving him too much blame.

    2. What a shock! The Obama administration spins a web of new bedtime stories about employment <yawn>

    3. Bobbie says:

      maybe people are going right to the door of welfare instead of applying for unemployment? it's so sad to see the economy drag because that's what the president wants. this is the holiday season so always consider that. the only people Christmas shopping are welfare recipients. we'll have to take out of our retirement again that is paid into privately through the hours of honest labor.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×