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Nate Jackson / Sep. 7, 2015

Unemployed Labor Day

There isn’t as much labor to go around as we all would like.

As most Americans are grilling in the backyard to celebrate Labor Day, there isn’t as much labor to go around as we all would like. In his weekly address for Labor Day weekend, Barack Obama boasted of “the longest streak of job creation on record.” Indeed, Friday’s jobs report had some good headline numbers — who could argue with 5.1% unemployment? But the underlying story isn’t so hot. As we noted Friday, black unemployment is at 9.5%, which increased 0.4% from July. And as has been true throughout the Obama “recovery,” much of the decline in the overall unemployment rate was caused by people leaving the workforce. The labor force participation rate remained at 62.6% — the lowest level since 1977 — and there are a record 94 million Americans not in the workforce. As for Gross Domestic Product (GDP), while second-quarter growth was a seemingly healthy 3.7%, that number could be revised down closer to first quarter numbers. The Daily Signal reports, “Gross Domestic Income (GDI) grew at just 0.6 percent, after 0.4 percent growth in the first 1st quarter. GDI is a more accurate measure of the health of the economy. When the government revises GDP figures as more data comes in, it tends to get revised towards the initial GDI estimates.”

Obama turned his address into a call for a budget from Congress that will “support working Americans and strengthen our middle class.” Naturally, he wants “investments” in the same old stuff — infrastructure, schools and research. All fine things, but when 94 million Americans aren’t working (and aren’t paying taxes to support that budget), Obama’s promises and braggadocio ring hollow.

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