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EDITORIAL: Underworked Americans hit 20.3 percent

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We've heard it all before, but no matter what the Obama administration claims, economic recovery has not arrived.

Last Friday in North Carolina, President Obama said the economy is "beginning to turn the corner." At the end of May last year, he claimed, "We are already seeing results." On Sunday, Lawrence H. Summers, the president's chief economic adviser, told CNN, "The trend has turned, but to get back to the surface, we've got a long way to go." Yet on Jan. 25, 2009, Mr. Summers said the economy would start improving "within weeks" after the stimulus plan was passed in February. Nothing these people say about the economy is reliable.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that unemployment remained at 9.7 percent in March. The broadest measure of unemployment, which includes people who took part-time jobs because they couldn't find full-time employment and people who have given up looking for a job, increased for the second straight month, to 16.9 percent.

The unemployment numbers are estimated through surveys, and the government isn't the only one providing them. Gallup released a survey last week showing that the unemployment rate stood at 10.4 percent, an improvement from 10.6 percent in February. Yet that was more than offset by the 0.7 percent increase in part-time workers wanting full-time employment. According to Gallup, the broad measure of unemployment and underemployment isn't 16.9 percent, but 20.3 percent, which increased from 19.8 percent. ADP, the giant payroll services firm, estimates that non-farm private employment fell by 23,000 in March.

Mr. Obama and his media mouthpieces touted a March increase of 264,000 jobs, which is based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics' household survey. Half of those jobs were either part time or with the government. For example, the Census Bureau hired a lot of people last month. Jobs created by government spending aren't as productive as the jobs they replaced. And when the stimulus money runs out, many of those jobs will end and unemployment will tend to increase again. Meanwhile, the number of unemployed rose by 134,000 as some workers started looking for work again. The newly counted unemployed offset the number of new jobs enough to keep the unemployment rate from changing.

Mr. Obama's profligate policies have destroyed vast amounts of wealth, and all there is to show from the stimulus is massive debt. The president seems to have no notion that the money he spends has to come from someplace. That someplace is the American taxpayer, who is getting squeezed to pay higher taxes while working less.

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