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Jobless Rate Drop Likely Good For Obama. Likely.

by Keith Koffler on February 3, 2012, 10:20 am

The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3 percent last month as the economy added 243,000 jobs, a sign that the economic recovery is sustaining itself.

The report is probably good news for President Obama. The rate dropped not because people are exiting the workforce, but because companies are hiring.

But there is some risk for Obama here too. Most forecasts project slow growth the rest of the year. If hiring does not continue at a strong pace, and people who have left the workforce return and start looking for jobs, the unemployment rate will start to inch back up.

If this is the start of more robust growth than expected, then Obama has a lot to be happy about. But if not, it could be that the unemployment rate has come down too soon for him, and that it would have been better to see these kind of decreases closer to Election Day.

The White House is already seeking to use the report to its advantage. Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan B. Krueger released a statement this morning using the report to tout Obama’s policies and launch the upcoming brawl with Republicans over the payroll tax cut extension.

Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the economic policies that are helping us to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the recession that began at the end of 2007. Most importantly, we need to extend the payroll tax cut and continue to provide emergency unemployment benefits through the end of this year, and take the additional steps that President Obama proposed in his State of the Union address to create an economy built to last.

I’m sure Republicans will go right out and pass all his proposals.

Also remember, unemployment was at 7.8 percent when Obama took office. If he doesn’t have it below 8 percent on Election Day, Republicans will always have a case that things are worse.

Leave a Comment

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

The Original February 3, 2012 at 10:27 am

How many of those who are no longer “unemployed” are like a friend of mine who have run out of unemployment benefits and still cannot find a job? That is something I would like to know.

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Star February 3, 2012 at 10:49 am

Many–I write about this all the time in my recession blog. http://hopeycopey.blogspot.com. The rate, which is always manipulated anyhow, could be 8.9 closer to election, acc to some. I don’t even care what is “good” or “bad” for Obama, I am so sick of this election already–everything is pretty BAD for the people I know, and I include myself.

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Swedish lady February 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm

I agree Star. Unemployment statistics are a political weapon that can be used by both sides. Was it Mark Twain who said that there are lies, damn lies and statistics ?

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Star February 5, 2012 at 11:26 am

I saw a professor on C-SPAN or Bloomberg or someplace this weekend that said the rate for people over 50 is 20%! I think it may even be more…That overall figure of 8-whatever is almost completely meaningless…but of course, that is not widely revealed.

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MarjoJimbo February 3, 2012 at 12:27 pm

I am one of them.

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Mark Davis, MD February 3, 2012 at 10:35 am

More cooked numbers just in time for the presidental elections.

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Jeff February 3, 2012 at 11:14 am

Exactly, the labor participation rate dropped by 1.2 million jobs in one month, and decent high paying jobs are being replaced by low paying construction and manufacturing jobs. Isn’t that terrific.

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srdem65 February 3, 2012 at 10:37 am

367,000 new applications for unemployment less 243,000 jobs filled still leaves a deficit. Math isn’t that hard unless the computations are done by the government. There hasn’t been a month, in years, where the “jobs filled” has exceeded the newly unemployed.
The numbers game continues.

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Susan February 3, 2012 at 10:39 am

The way this corrupt government works, the unemployment rate will be whatever Obama deems it to be. Think you are mistaken about the reason for the drop in unemployment Keith. Zero Hedge is reporting 1.2 million people exited the work force in one month. The only way that can happen is if the numbers are being fudged.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/record-12-million-people-fall-out-labor-force-one-month-labor-force-participation-rate-tumbles-

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Girly1 February 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

Exactly, Susan! Obama already has the magic number ready to go in November. It has to be better than Bush at the end of the melldown (7.50%)…so my bet is that it will be (drum roll, please)…6.5%!

Funny how no one EVER mentions the fact that Bush had low unemployment – 5% – 5-1/2% for 7 1/2 years!

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Wigglesworth February 3, 2012 at 11:20 am

The labor force participation rate also stabilized from 2004 -2008 so the unemployment rate was based more in reality back then than it is today.

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RWC February 3, 2012 at 11:20 am

I’ll wait for the inevitably revised numbers to come in thank you very much.

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Star February 3, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Yes–about midnight one of these Fridays, they will drop a line to their supporters in the press saying, uhhhh, you know that unemployment figure, well, jiminy, it was really….

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RWC February 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm

If past is prologue it is a guarantee.

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Tom Poole February 3, 2012 at 11:23 am

So long as he can control the message the jobless rate will improve. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see numbers around 4% by November.
But on the other hand, its smoke and mirrors, 243,000 “new jobs”? How about the 1.2million people who dropped out of the labor market last month?
The real unemployment rate is probably around 17.5% or better, and it wont get any better (actual) for quite a while.

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barkley pontree February 3, 2012 at 12:14 pm

I wish people would not just quote stats without looking at the data used to come up with numbers. Pay attention to the denominator, which is the number of people, the pool of people, or the population of people looking/wanting to work. If you want to see the numbers go down, reduce this number and it’s been steadily reduced.

Out here in the real world, no one believes the numbers. I’m trying to find part time work so I can continue to take care of my dad. The manager at the grocery store told me they have two openings and over 500 applicants. And they are losing a couple of people who are moving or graduating and they are not replacing them with new hires. this is not isolated.

It use to be you could just pick up want ad sections of the paper to see what the market was like. I remember back in 1981, the Texas Newspapers would have three full sections with job want ads. Michigan papers had less than half a section. Today, it’s just as easy. Go type in a town and run all the new ads for Monster or Careerbuilder or Simplyhired and just count the new listings for the day.

Sorry, this recovery is on DC paper only.

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RWC February 3, 2012 at 1:43 pm

“Out here in the real world, no one believes the numbers.”

And that is key. However, I work in the great Dreamland of Columbia where the great federal jobs program dominates so I and others around here don’t realize how bad it is outside the beltway. But I talk to family and friends around the country and it seems pretty horrid.

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MT for re-redistribution February 3, 2012 at 4:46 pm

BO’s swooning minions believe the numbers

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CWSTEXAS February 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm

How on EARTH can you say the results were not due to people exiting the workforce? That is most misleading thing I’ve read in months on ANY website. The Bureau of Labor Statistics eliminated a record 1.2 Million people from the civilian workforce in ONE MONTH! ONE MONTH!!! That is the most ever.

You cannot ignore that statistic and remain even remotely credible! The workforce is now at 67% of the population- the lowest in over 30 years.

At this rate, and thanks to the Bureau’s continued trimming, unemployment will be at 0% just in time for the election. Get real and tell the whole truth.

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Wigglesworth February 3, 2012 at 3:39 pm

Here is a good explanation of the jobs report.

http://market-ticker.org/akcs-www?post=201459

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Star February 4, 2012 at 11:20 am

Sent that to my editor friend at the Arizona Republic (Gannett) but I doubt it will make it any farther. The scenarios are being framed and concrete will soon be poured.

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rulierose February 3, 2012 at 6:49 pm

Keith, I think you’re wrong about the numbers being better because people are hiring. there’s a big article out today that 1.2 million people have “dropped off” the unemployment rolls. and aren’t we also still seeing the effects of Christmas-season employment?

doesn’t really matter, tho: even when unemployment goes up, Obama just blames it on Bush and reminds us how much worse it would be if he, Barack, hadn’t stepped in and fixed it. oh and did he mention he’s the one who got bin Laden?

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Star February 4, 2012 at 11:22 am

Government Executive maag or Govt Technology–one of those–said we may get to see the Bin Laden’s photos–I am sure they will be saved for closer to the election, though.

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Keith Koffler February 3, 2012 at 11:29 pm

The 1.2 million removed from the labor force reflects changes due to the census, not discouraged workers. The census found a higher ratio of old people than thought, people less likely to work. So the labor force assumption was changed. This did not affect the unemployment rate.

Job growth in January was a broad-based and stronger than expected. That’s mainly why the unemployment rate declined.

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Star February 4, 2012 at 11:55 am

The 1.2 million removed from the labor force reflects changes due to the census

Then this is a one-time adjustment–they don’t get to use it again–like the half a bill out of Medicare they kept plugging in various places to make things balance.

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DCINNAMIN BAKER February 4, 2012 at 3:19 am

Here you say that the recession began in 2007. That is an unresearched lie. Also we were burrying ourselves into a recession over the past 20 years with frivolous spending the mercilously sending our american citizen to die for oil in places where only hate lives in desserts. This is all too horrible to encounter and has been brewing to the point where we almost were in a depression. In a depression, you know that would allow other republic countries to come in and stomp us to death as we beg for bowls of soup on soup lines then we would be killed because we had no money. I’m so Sick of the uneducatedness and thhus this brings forth nothing but hateful lies. The truth is that you fail to research the facts, the republic countries are just lurking in the dark coridors waiting to make our holy Democracy look as if we failed. Our SuperWonderful President Barack Obama and v.p. Biden are carrying upon terrifically wonderful miraculous works to save millions of peoples live and encourage great success of our democracy. We need to rid our holy democracy of all filthy g.o.p outries disguting filthy influences becausse they are death dealing poison in my opinion. We need to rise up with Loud Strong Voices and fight for our rights both in a democratic way and an educated way because President Barack Obama is a God Sent Blessing to American, we need him because he loves us a great amount. Prez Obama has helped us to have hope and courage to fight for our many human rights and we must not give up to g,o.p. I Am A Democratic Student for the past 30 years. We are in need of fighting for our Rigghts. Those g.o.p. are full of lies and Hate and evil Danger, Wake up America Urgency is greatly upon us. please see my group on facebook called ‘Demochrists’. join me on twitter too, We need President Obama because he is doing Great tremendous wonderful works along with v.p. Biden and many other Democrats in a neat orderly way( President Obama has been a great speaker since 1993 and he won the Presidency of the Harvard Law Review- A great Amazing Feat). They are accomplishing goals that I feel no one at all could ever even dream of and v.p. Biden has been in Senate for 30 years. He is a Godsend too. Wake up America urgency is upon us. God Almighty does Bless President Obama with Great wisdom. We need him. See 2,600 videos on youtube at whitehouse page.

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Susan February 4, 2012 at 11:33 am

“I Am A Democratic Student for the past 30 years.”

Do they teach reading, writing, and arithmetic at the cult of personality school you attend?

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Star February 4, 2012 at 11:56 am

You mean–Obama High?

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Granny Jan/Janice February 4, 2012 at 6:49 am

John Crudele: Rosy jobs report a ruse – An 8.3% jobless rate? NYPOST.com http://nyp.st/zauO4b

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Star February 4, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Yes–also a good point. Over eight BLOWS!! Actually over 6 blows. We are being conditioned to accept or even praise completely horrible, skewed, manupulated, and wrongly interpreted data. This goes back to who frames the issue–and somehow they do it. Or are allowed to do it.

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