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April 06, 2012

DOOM!: Unexpectedly


If you're a Christian, today is Good Friday.

If you were looking for good news in the unemployment report that was released this morning, it's a really, really bad one.

Prayers to kick the economically illiterate dunce we have in the White House to the curb this November are in order. But first, the numbers:

- Non-farm payroll adds: 120,000 (against an expectation of ~200,000)
- U-3 unemployment rate: 8.2%
- Labor force participation rate: 63.8%

American Enterprise Institute econ. blogger @JimPethokoukis calculated that if the labor force participation rate, which measures the size of the workforce (including those looking for work) against the work-aged population, had remained constant with where it was on the day Obama was inaugurated, the U-3 rate would be 10.9%.

In other words, the only reason the rate is as low as 8.2% is that an extraordinary number of people have given up looking for work altogether.

Of course, the Obama administration knows exactly who to blame for this outrage: The Republican-controlled House!

WH Economic Advisor Gene Sperling says House Republican partisanship "has blocked us from having a stronger job market." (@MarkKnoller)

It couldn't possibly have anything to do with an administration that focused like a laser on passing an unconstitutional healthcare law in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the great depression, could it?

Or an administration that shoveled boatloads of borrowed dollars out the door in pursuit of "green jobs" that are proving as mythical as unicorns.

Former White House economic adviser Jared Bernstein gave some advice on running "clean energy" firms in Las Vegas today and admitted that these sorts of ventures don't actually create many jobs.

"When I worked for the administration I was very active in the implementation of the Recovery Act," Bernstein told the Vegas crowd. "And one thing we found about clean energy was that if you build a solar plant you are going to hire a lot of people. If you run a solar plant, it doesn't take a ton of people to run some of these plants. The labor-saving technology around the actual production of clean energy is quite intense. So some of these firms don't employ as many people as you might hope."

Now they tell us.

We have a structural unemployment problem caused by a confluence of factors: consumer and government debt overhang, regulatory uncertainty (or, more precisely, certainty of bad regulations), skills mismatch and others.

Getting rid of Obama in November won't magically solve these problems, but it is an absolutely necessary first step.

By popular demand:

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posted by Andy at 10:23 AM

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