Yesterday, the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent in January. Nearly 170,000 people dropped out of the job market, exceeding the anemic number of jobs (157,000) created.
Nonetheless, in what could be mistaken for a dispatch from the Ministry of Truth, a statement was issued by the White House claiming “today’s unemployment rate provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds of the worst downturn since the Great Depression.”
The unemployment rate today is higher than when President Obama took office. Over 8 million more people are without jobs than when the $814 billion stimulus passed — a stimulus that was supposed to create so many shovel-ready jobs that the unemployment rate today would be 5.2 percent. The number of Americans receiving foodstamps hit a record 47.5 million last month, an increase of more than 2.5 million in just the last year; 20 million more than five years ago. The number of Americans in poverty increased over the last year; it now sits at 11 million more than at the outset of this administration. Not surprisingly, median household income continues to decline, down more than $4,000 — or 8 percent– during this presidency.
There may be evidence out there that the economy is healing, but an increase in the unemployment rate ain’t it.