- The Washington Times - Friday, October 16, 2009

The $787 billion stimulus package isn’t working as promised. Despite what some Obama administration officials are daring to claim, job creation continues to decline.

On Sept. 24, Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. enthused, “In my wildest dreams, I never thought [the stimulus] would work this well.” The pricey stimulus was sold to the public by claiming it would “create or save” millions of jobs. It’s not obvious how the vice president squares this irrational exuberance with the new job numbers released on Friday by the Department of Labor. In August, there were 2.4 million new job openings, which is the lowest level since the Labor Department started tracking this measurement in 2000. The number is down 36 percent from August 2008 and down 21 percent since January of this year, and it has been falling fairly continuously all year long.

New job openings for professional services and retail trade are both down about 24 percent from January. New job openings in recreational activities are down almost 30 percent. Manufacturing has been hit hard. Given the momentum of these negative trends, it should be clear that the stimulus is not working. Worse, with the new regulations, threats of higher taxes and other possible changes advocated by the Obama administration, no doubt many firms are afraid to start new projects and hire new workers with such an uncertain future.

A record low level of new job openings does not give confidence that the economy has turned the corner, as the administration keeps claiming. And this drop in new jobs is just part of the story. The Labor Department announced that 4.27 million people quit, retired or were laid off in August. There is a lot of collateral damage to such a sour jobs market. For example, there are record foreclosures in the housing market.

Around the globe, from Australia to Canada to Germany, unemployment is falling. No other government tried to spend its way out of the recession the way the Obama administration did. It’s not surprising that the U.S. economy is getting worse while other economies are improving.

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