All the net jobs created during the Obama administration have been part-time jobs. An estimated 35 million Americans are trapped in jobs they would have left in better times. Fewer Americans are working today than in the year 2000, despite the fact that our population has grown by 31 million and our labor force by 11.4 million since then.
The Obama campaign emphasizes that “for years before the economic crisis,” middle-class security had been slipping away because of stagnant wages and soaring healthcare costs. It’s true that even before the start of the Iraq war in 2003 we had problems (education and fiscal control), but the record of the last four years is worrying. The unemployment rate under President Obama has averaged over 9 percent. Under George W. Bush, his predecessor, the jobless rate averaged 5.3 percent and was at 6.8 percent in the month his party lost the 2008 election. Job seekers are only one third as likely to find a job as before Obama was elected. A record number have been out of work for over six months. Hiring plans have sunk to the lowest reading since the third quarter of 2009, and only 26 percent of American companies plan to boost their compensation, the lowest since the depth of the last recession, as reported by David Rosenberg, chief economist of Gluskin Sheff.
Today a record number of households have at least one member looking for a job. The average private sector workweek is 34.5 hours. If not for the relatively short workweek, the jobless rate would be even higher. Another pattern that has emerged is that companies are asking employees to take unpaid leave, and this doesn’t count toward the unemployment rates.