Recession: Two years into a "recovery," the unemployment rate leaps to 9.1% and just 54,000 new jobs are created. Is this just "bumps on the road to recovery," as the White House insists, or something more dangerous?
This has been the most miserable recovery in modern history. Not only are there not enough jobs being created, but also the economy itself looks to be stalling.
Gross domestic product grew a paltry 1.8% during the first quarter, and most economists expect something similar for the second quarter. Double dip? It's possible.
As we noted earlier last week before the new jobs data came out, the U.S. is already in a growth recession — defined as an economy that's growing too slowly to keep unemployment from rising.
Yet the Obama administration is crowing about its accomplishments as if slowing growth and rising joblessness have nothing to do with its bad policies.
"The initiatives put in place by this administration — such as the payroll tax cut and business incentives for investment — have contributed to solid employment growth overall this year, but this report is a reminder of the challenges that remain," said Austan Goolsbee, Obama's top economic adviser.
"Solid employment growth"? Since the end of last year, job growth has averaged 130,500 a month — about the number of people who enter the workforce each month. That's not "solid" enough.
By the way, the unemployment rate has been below 9% for just five months since Obama took office — and three of those months were in the first 12 weeks of his presidency, before his policies took effect.
Even so, President Obama on Friday visited Chrysler workers, lauding the government's bailout for the re-emergence of the auto industry, which has added 113,000 jobs over the last two years.
What he didn't say was that GM, the bailout's poster boy, lost taxpayers $14 billion, and the total cost of his stimulus and bailout plan has now risen to $830 billion.
Obama was unflappable. "This economy took a big hit — it's taking a while to mend," he told Chrysler workers, reciting high gas prices, Japan's earthquake and the Mideast as the "head winds" facing the economy.
How about the head wind of bad government policies that, based on Congressional Budget Office data, have cost the economy over $760 billion in lost economic output in the past two years — and millions of jobs?
This lost output is the Obamanomics growth tax. Too much tinkering, too much debt, too much spending.
"By failing to alleviate the uncertainty businesses are feeling, Washington continues to stifle hiring," said Chamber of Commerce economist Martin Regalia.
This "uncertainty," by the way, is why businesses, with their $2 trillion in cash, stay on the sidelines. At this point in a recovery, they should be adding hundreds of thousands of workers each month.
That they aren't is a damning indictment of Obama's big-spending, high-debt, Keynesian strategy that has emerged as one of the great failures of economic policy-making in modern times.