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Friday
May032013

Project 21's Green Talks Jobs, Economy and New Unemployment Numbers

Today saw the release of April’s unemployment numbers.  It’s still not nearly as good as President Obama promised Americans in return for giving him the keys to the White House.

The official, seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate — the one that all the media reports on — went down slightly to 7.5 percent.  According to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the rate “changed little” and only around 165,000 jobs were created during April.  To make matters worse, the U-6 rate that includes the underemployed and despondent who have given up looking for work actually increased to a seasonally-adjusted rate of 13.9 percent.

And President Obama’s most loyal constituency had only a mild decrease in their specific rate as black unemployment fell from 13.3 percent to 13.2 percent.  The unemployment rate for Hispanics is an above-average nine percent.  And unemployment for teenagers leapt from 33.8 percent to 40.5 percent.

As he does every month upon the release of the new unemployment data, Derryck Green — a member of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network — gives his perspective on the state of the economy.  Despite the slight improvement, Derryck notes this month that the overall health of the economy and the outlook of the American people does not bode well for a better future:

As unemployment numbers continue to drop only slightly, it appears President Obama will be relying on an extremely misleading indicator to claim the economy is getting stronger.

Since the unemployment numbers haven’t always told the true story of what’s happened to the U.S. economy, we must do a diligent survey of other, broader indicators if we want to accurately gauge the President’s stewardship of an American economy that is — when defined by gross domestic product (GDP) growth — the worst economy in 83 years.

Regarding GDP growth, it was reported that the economy grew at just 2.5 percent [http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/economy-grew-at-25-percent-in-1st-quarter-lower-than-forecast/2013/04/26/9a4e99dc-ae72-11e2-8bf6-e70cb6ae066e_story.html?wpmk=MK0000200] during the first quarter, much slower than expected.  One cause being attributed to this slow growth is a reduction in military and defense spending over the past two quarters.  According to the Congressional Budget Office, defense spending cuts overall over the course of the Obama Administration and those contained in the much-hyped sequestration may inhibit GDP growth for the next several years.

As it pertains to the jobless and underworked, we know that the actual unemployment rate is just below 14 percent.  When unemployment is viewed on a state-by-state basis, there are only six states that have a U-6 unemployment rate  that covers the underemployed, those discouraged and the jobless that is below ten percent.

Additionally, USA Today revealed last week that roughly 93 percent of American households lost wealth during President Obama’s first term.  Further, the Urban Institute collected data that reveals that, under Obama, Hispanic families have lost 44 percent of their wealth; black families lost 31 percent while white families lost 11 percent.

Families losing wealth doesn’t do much to support the notion of an economic recovery.

With the economy in a sustained rut, more people are finding themselves in poverty and enrolling themselves in the federal food stamp program (now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP).  Looking at two separate sources, it shows precisely how and why.  There’s no doubt that the recession and so-called recovery have hit many families much harder than others and as such, SNAP continues to provide sustenance for those truly in need.

But SNAP is being abused by folks who may not need its assistance.  According to The Washington Post, SNAP recruiters in Florida have monthly quotas to hit so as to ensure $6 billion dollars of federal money continues to pour into the state’s economy.

Furthermore — and what should concern folks even more — is that, according to Judicial Watch, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is working in conjunction with the Mexican Embassy to “widely broaden the SNAP program in the Mexican immigrant community, with no effort to restrict aid to, identify or apprehend illegal immigrants who may be on the food stamp rolls.”  The actual government flyer passed around the immigrant community reads, in bold-face type and underlined: “You need not divulge information regarding your immigration status in seeking this benefit for your children.”

Americans’ tax dollars at work.

What’s President Obama’s response to the ongoing economic stagnation?  One seems to be more golf.  The President has reportedly devoted more time to the golf course than he has to the economy.  Twice as much, actually.

Another of the President’s responses was an attempt to push gun control and comprehensive immigration reform at a time when only four percent of Americans considered gun control or immigration a top issue.  The most important issue to those polled was the economy at 24 percent.

Yet another response is to continue the Fed’s $85 billion-per-month purchasing of mortgage-backed securities.

Considering these and other economic realities, a course correction cannot be foreseen as happening anytime soon, especially with the train wreck tax effects of ObamaCare approaching.  With major corporations already laying off some employees and reducing the hours of others, there is real concern about the lack of domestic economic viability on the horizon.

If this is as good as it gets, President Obama seems to want Americans to think, concern and doubt about a much-needed economic recovery is justified.

top photo credit: iStockPhoto

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