Sep 7, 2012 No Comments ›› Pat Dollard
(DAILY MAIL) Just 96,000 American jobs were added in August in a bleak monthly jobs report as 368,000 left the workforce, bringing labour market participation down to its lowest level for 31 years and dealing a blow to President Barack Obama’s re-election chances.
The national unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 per cent, down from 8.2 per cent, but this was only because so many people gave up looking for work. If the participation rate had not dropped so precipitously, unemployment would have risen to 8.4 per cent.
Factory employment fell by the most in two years and temporary-help companies eliminated positions for the first time in five months. The 69.9 per cent labor force participation rate for men is at lowest level recorded since the US government began tracking it in 1948.
According to James Pethokoukis of the American Enterprise Institute, the unemployment rate would be 11.4 per cent if the labour force participation rate had remained what it was when Obama took office in January 2009.
President Barack Obama was made aware of the figures before he took the stage to deliver his prime-time address at the Democratic convention on Thursday night, which could account for his sometimes grim demeanour as he spoke. In a biting statement, Romney said: ‘If last night was the party, this morning is the hangover. For every net new job created, nearly four Americans gave up looking for work entirely. This is more of the same for middle class families who are suffering through the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.
‘After 43 straight months of unemployment above eight per cent, it is clear that President Obama just hasn’t lived up to his promises and his policies haven’t worked. We aren’t better off than they were four years ago. My plan for a stronger middle class will create 12 million new jobs by the end of my first term. America deserves new leadership that will get our economy moving again.’
On Thursday night, Obama laid out his case for being re-elected to a second term by comparing himself to Franklin D. Roosevelt, who won an unprecedented four presidential elections and led America to recovery after the Great Depression.
The grim economic data came as Obama and Romney were deadlocked in the national opinion polls in a race that has been too close to call for many months. It was the last opportunity for either man to use a defined ‘moment’ to change the trajectory of the race before the three presidential debates in October.
‘And the truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades. It will require common effort, shared responsibility, and the kind of bold, persistent experimentation that Franklin Roosevelt pursued during the only crisis worse than this one.’