Over and over we hear that the economy is recovering, albeit slowly. We have heard this throughout 2012 and 2013. But note that the percentage of working age Americans employed in December 2011, 2012, and 2013 has been stuck at 58.6%. This is 4.8% below the employment percentage of December 2006, which was just before the sudden cost of oil increase in early 2007 and before the subsequent financial crisis in 2008.
This is an incredible degree of employment stagnation. Yes, 58.6% is above the low 58.2% of December 2009, but the 0.4% increase relative to that low point is only a fraction of the total December 2009 loss relative to December 2006 of 0.4% / 5.2% = 0.077. In other words, for all intents and purposes, from 2009 through 2013 the employment situation has been essentially unchanged and awful.
We need to have 11.843 million more jobs to have the same percentage employment we had in December 2006. Because of the big government policies of George W. Bush prior to Obama, that December 2006 employment percentage was already lower than it had been in December 1999. Our jobs stagnation problem actually began at the start of this century.
Apparently a government jobs program, consisting of
- stimulus programs,
- Food Stamp increases,
- Social Security Disability increases,
- Extended Unemployment Benefits,
- Dodd-Frank and other financial regulations,
- Tax increases,
- Increased fossil fuel sourced energy costs (recently moderated by shale oil and gas increased production on private lands, while extensive federal land and off-shore oil and gas were denied development), and
- Subsidized so-called green energy,
But then a program to take people out of the private sector workforce, to transfer money from the private sector to the government sector, and to limit the options of the private sector's entrepreneurs and consumers could have no other outcome. It is not as though this sort of program has not been tried before and been found to fail disastrously. But those who believe in the efficacy of big government will not learn from history.
As a result, we have had at least 5 years of a jobs depression. Given Obama's wrongheadedness and pigheadedness, we are likely to see this continue for at least another 4 years. Four years being 3 more years of Obama and one year for a more rational and less abusive President to return control of the economy to the private sector.