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Failure, by the numbers


By Alex Carlisle




More bad news for young people has come from the August jobs report.

Despite MSNBC’s vapid attempt to spin the latest numbers into good news for President Barack Obama, consensus among the rational people of the world is that the U.S. economy is bad. Very bad.

The economy that supports some 300 million people added only 96,000 jobs in August after expecting about 142,000 new jobs. 

For some perspective, the economy would need to add 150,000 jobs each month just to keep up with population growth.

The official unemployment rate fell from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent, making August the 43rd straight month of more than 8 percent unemployment.

The decrease is not good.

It means a lot of people have simply given up trying to find a job.

In total, 368,000 dropped out of the market last month.

In Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney’s words, “For every net new job created, nearly four Americans gave up looking for work entirely.”

The actual unemployment number, which takes into account those not actively seeking work, stands at 11.2 percent if labor participation rates were the same as the day Obama took office.

The numbers for young people are even worse.

The unemployment rate for 18 to 29-year-olds is 12.7 percent.

Among black youth, the rate is 22.4 percent, and among Hispanics, 13.7
percent.

If you factor in the number not participating in the labor market, the youth unemployment rate is 16.7 percent. 

This means young people have to cut back going to the bars and the movies. It means they have to spend less on groceries.

It means they cannot take vacations, drive as often or buy gifts for friends and
family.

Young people have had to reduce their energy use, find second jobs — which, as mentioned above, is very hard to do — sell personal items and skip weddings, family reunions and other important social events.

The unemployment numbers mean young people have had to delay big life events like buying their own place, starting a family, moving to another city, paying off student debt and getting married.

Our president has failed us. He promised change and a 5-percent unemployment rate and gave millions the false hope of a better future.

The numbers show he has failed.

As Paul Ryan said in the best line at either convention, “College graduates should not have to live out their 20s in their childhood bedrooms, staring up at fading Obama posters and wondering when they can move out and get going with life.”

In 2008, young people voted for the president by a margin of 34 percent.

While youth enthusiasm for the president has dropped demonstrably since 2008, a poll conducted by  conservative non-profit Generation Opportunity shows that 76 percent of millennials plan to reelect our president.

This, to me, is the most staggering number of all.


­— arcarlis@indiana.edu

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