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February 1st, 2013 9:07 am
Unemployment Rises Unexpectedly to 7.9%
Posted by Timothy Lee Print

Earlier this week, the federal government reported that our economy contracted for the first time since the last recession.

Today it reported that unemployment rose to 7.9% last month, up from 7.8% the month before.

Analysts had expected the rate to remain at 7.8%, already a terrible number nearly four years after the last recession ended.  Moreover, the 157,000 new jobs added fell below analysts’ expectations of approximately 170,000, which itself is significantly below the 200,000 per month necessary to keep pace with population growth and substantively reduce the festering unemployment rate.  So Obama II inherits a higher unemployment rate from himself than Obama I inherited from Bush, but with the added burden of $6 trillion wasted deficit spending.

This has ominous broader implications, as noted by The Wall Street Journal:

The labor market looks anemic 3½ years into an economic recovery.  At last count, there are 134 million employed Americans, or four million less than the month before the recession began.  At the same point after the prior recession in the early 2000s, despite what was then called a jobless recovery, there were 5.3 million more workers…  Whether it is retirees, the unemployed, “discouraged” workers or people claiming disability that explain the difference, though, the ratio of “makers” to “takers” in society has dropped.  That has implications for tax revenue and spending and helps explain why, following weak growth data on Wednesday, this is the slowest economic recovery in modern times.”

Hardly the “Forward” that Obama promised.

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