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February 10, 2014

Jobs Numbers Remain Frozen

The January jobs numbers reveal that the economy has yet to really thaw.

Friday’s jobs report was another mile marker on the long, sad road to “recovery” in the Obama economy. Every sign of good news is counterbalanced by bad news. The U.S. economy added 113,000 jobs in January, but for the second straight month that increase failed to keep up with population growth. The headline unemployment rate fell again to 6.6%, but black unemployment rose to 12.1% – the same as December 2008. The labor force grew slightly, but as the Heritage Foundation’s Salim Furth observed, “participation remains mired in a historic slump.” The U-6 unemployment – a more accurate measure – dropped to 12.7%, but there are 1.1 million fewer Americans working today than in January 2008.

Meanwhile, another report indicates that one in six men in their prime working age don’t have jobs. And one interesting subplot is that the fewest health care jobs – 204,000 – were added in 2013 since 1999.

The Associated Press called January’s numbers “surprisingly weak,” indicating that the economy is slowing again. Of course, for those who see Democrat policies for what they are, the slowing is not surprising at all. CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf warned last week that “a slower rate of growth of the labor force” – caused at least in part by ObamaCare – “is the central factor in slowing economic growth.” Worse, that slowdown is by design.

Recall Elmendorf’s analysis that “by providing heavily subsidized health insurance to people with very low income and then withdrawing those subsidies as income rises, the [UnAffordable Care] Act creates a disincentive for people to work.” Or, as the Obama administration might say, they’ve been “liberated” from work. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney helpfully explained that now families can “make a decision about how they will work, and if they will work.” All while the people who do work subsidize those who choose not to. Ain’t socialism grand?

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