LAMBRO: Another lost year for America’s workers

High unemployment to persist until 2025

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“The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), at 7.9 million, changed little in December. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.”

“In December, 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. … These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months.” Note: These 2.6 million Americans were not added to the BLS‘ 12.2 million jobless number “because they had not searched for work in the four weeks preceding the survey.”

It’s hard to find a hard, critical analysis that these jobs numbers demand, but James Pethokoukis at the American Enterprise Institute provided one last week. Its headline: “Dismal December jobs report shows another lost year for U.S. workers.” His analysis deserves a wider audience.

December’s BLS number “was the same old, same old. The increase in total nonfarm payroll employment was only a smidgen better than the average 2012 employment growth of 153,000 jobs per month,” Mr. Pethokoukis writes.

“And that was exactly the same as the average monthly gain for 2011,” he adds. “And at that pace, the U.S. won’t return to pre-Great Recession employment levels until after 2025, according to the Jobs Gap calculated from the Hamilton Project.”

Consider these stats from his devastating analysis:

14.4 percent: The real unemployment rate when you add part-timers who want full-time jobs and discouraged workers who still can’t find a job.

10.7 percent: The unemployment rate if the declining labor force participation rate was at its higher January 2009 level.

5.2 percent: The jobless rate Team Obama forecast for December 2012 if Congress passed his $800 billion job stimulus.

If you’re still buying into Mr. Obama’s jobs claim that “we’re making progress” and “moving forward,” you’ve made much of the Washington news media very happy.

Donald Lambro is a syndicated columnist and former chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.

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