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Policy: Economy

White House claims mediocre jobs report shows Recovery Act worked

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Beltway Confidential,White House,Jobs,ARRA,Ashe Schow,Economy

It's to be expected. Every month the White House claims that the economy is improving despite evidence to the contrary. On Friday, Alan Kreuger, chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, said, "In the four years since the recession ended in June 2009, the economy has added 5.3 million jobs, thanks to the resilience of the American people and policies like the Recovery Act, which helped bring the recession to an end and put us on the path to recovery."

That rosy outlook disregards the numbers behind the jobs report. While the media reports that 195,000 jobs were added in June and that is better than expected, they neglect to mention that if the economy added 195,000 jobs a month consistently, it would not return to pre-recession employment levels until 2021, according to a nifty interactive chart developed by the Brookings Institute.

Furthermore, the rest of the jobs report is even worse. The reported unemployment rate remained unchanged at 7.6 percent despite the increase in jobs, but the real unemployment rate, the U-6 rate (which is the total unemployed, including all part-time workers) jumped from 13.8 percent in may to 14.3 percent in June. The unemployment rate looks worse when broken down into demographics:

• Men: 7 percent

• Women: 6.8 percent

• Teens: 24 percent

• Whites: 6.6 percent

• African-Americans: 13.7 percent

• Hispanics: 9.1 percent

• Asians: 5 percent

• Americans with no high school degree: 10.7 percent

• Americans with college degree or higher: 3.9 percent

Other disturbing numbers: While the economy added 195,000 jobs in June, the number of part-time workers increased by 322,000. There were also one million "discouraged workers" in June. These are the people who have given up looking for work. Part-time workers and discouraged workers have been the leading cause to the reduction of the unemployment rate and show that the Recovery Act has not worked. Far from it.

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