Florida Representative and Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was on Fox News Monday morning to discuss the latest unemployment numbers. She seemed to argue that the unemployment rate has continued to drop since President Obama took office. That is not the case. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate fell by .4% from 9% to 8.6% in November. That is a drop. This rate, however, is still higher than when President Obama took office. When President Obama took office, the official rate was 7.8%,
The Washington Times dug a little deeper into the unemployment rate after Rep. Wasserman Schultz’s interview:
The official unemployment rate fell from 9% to 8.6% last month, but when Obama took office, the official rate was 7.8%. He promised to to keep unemployment under 8% when he took office, but only three years into his administration has it finally dropped below 9%. It would have fallen eventually anyway, and it seems more like he's waited out the worst of it rather than actively made things better.
The total unemployment rate is worse. The number of employed Americans in January 2009 was 133,563,000. The number is currently 131,708,000. Civilian labor force participation rate has fallen two points since January 2009, from almost 66% to 64%.
Rep. Schultz fails to realize that the declining number of jobs and the declining labor force participation mean that the total unemployment rate, which includes people who have given up looking for jobs, who are now sitting at home with no hope of finding a job, and who aren't counted as unemployed, is now over 15%. "Only" 9% of Americans are unemployed, but about one in six of those who would like to be working isn't. Throw in part-time workers who would like to work full-time, and the picture is even worse.
Rep. Wasserman Schultz should acknowledge that things are not as rosy as promised. But that isn’t the only problem. During the interview, Rep. Wasserman Schultz blamed President Bush. It has been almost three years since President Bush left office. It is the same old story. Rather than recognize that the unemployment numbers have not improved as President Obama promised they would with his hope and change, Rep. Wasserman Schultz blames President Bush and what the Administration inherited. I think that what so many Americans want for Christmas is some leadership on these tough economic issues, not the blame game.