- The Washington Times - Friday, August 9, 2013

Another weak jobs report came out last week, drawing yawns from Democrats, excuses from the White House and shallow, incomplete reporting from the nightly news shows.

President Obama has just finished a string of speeches on jobs and the economy, issues that pollsters say are the voters’ biggest concerns, but he failed to offer any new ideas about how to deal with them.

He traveled around the country repeating the same old ideas he’s pushed since 2009: public works spending for roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Failed ideas that didn’t work before and won’t work now.

The bleak reality is the Obama economy, which was growing at a snail’s pace in his first term, is slowing down even more in his second.

Economic growth, as measured by our gross domestic product, grew at a barely breathing 1.4 percent annualized rate in the first six months of this year. That’s down from 2.5 percent over the same period in 2012. This isn’t just a statistic — it’s the falling pulse rate of the U.S. economy, which has hurt millions of Americans and their families, who are either unemployed or underemployed.

The Labor Department’s employment report last Friday showed the economy added a minuscule 162,000 jobs in July out of a labor force of about 160 million Americans. A large number of these jobs were in temporary, part-time, low-paying work, and nowhere near levels needed to bring unemployment down to more normal levels.

Mr. Obama has been saying for more than 4 years that the economy is getting better, that it is “moving in the right direction.”

That’s like saying a student who was getting Fs on his report card is now getting Ds.

The national news media had been hyping the expected jobs number for weeks, pushing the administration’s line — and that of independent forecasters — that July’s figures could top 200,000.

The anemic, temp-heavy, 162,000 figure made all of those hyped jobs reports and claims that the United States was in full recovery look ridiculous and even duplicitous.

The Washington Post, which had called previous subpar job figures “solid” or “robust,” now acknowledges the truth about the economy’s weakening performance. It’s that bad.

“July was supposed to mark the starting point for an amped-up economy. Instead, data on Friday showed the recovery remains stuck in second gear,” the newspaper said in a front-page story that ran beneath this headline: “Sluggish hiring in July reflects tepid recovery.”

The network news shows didn’t give last week’s jobs story the detailed coverage it deserved. NBC’s Brian Williams reported that the unemployment rate fell to 7.4 percent, but did not explain this was largely as a result of 240,000 discouraged job-seekers who left the labor force because they could not find work.

Most of the reduction in the jobless rate during the Obama presidency has been the result of people who have given up looking for work. That has led to a fast-shrinking labor force, an ominous sign of a dying economy in a long-term decline.

“For most working families and recent college graduates, the situation is grim,” because the jobless rate is far worse than the government’s 7.4 percent figure, says University of Maryland business economist Peter Morici. “Adding in discouraged adults and part-timers who want full-time employment, the unemployment rate becomes 14 percent.”

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