Jon Huntsman photo

Press Release - Labor Force Exodus Reason For Unemployment Dip, Not Obama

August 05, 2011

The president has had 2.5 years to turn around the American economy and it is clear he has failed...When President Obama should have been focused on creating jobs, he focused on a government-mandated health care system that the American people didn't ask for and can't afford.

While National Democrats flaunted as a marker of progress the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Friday report, a more comprehensive look at the jobs index -- and the dramatic reduction in the labor force and the share of the eligible population holding a job to a record low set nearly 30 years earlier -- shows it to be an altogether hollow measure of economic recovery.

The BLS report revealed the U.S. economy posted a gain of 117,000 non-farm jobs in July, for a one-tenth of a percent dip in the national unemployment rate to 9.1. But that modest gain is a direct consequence of the nearly 200,000 frustrated Americans no longer considered actors in the labor force for forgoing fruitless job hunts.

In a statement reflecting on the new jobs numbers, Jon Huntsman blasted Barack Obama as a failure consumed by idle pursuits for which the American people didn't ask and can't afford.

"The president has had 2.5 years to turn around the American economy and it is clear he has failed," Huntsman said. "When President Obama should have been focused on creating jobs, he focused on a government-mandated health care system that the American people didn't ask for and can't afford."

According to the new data, the seasonally adjusted labor force participation rate fell to 63.9 percent, a new low, with 193,000 people leaving the labor force en masse amid still-tough conditions in which to find new work. (The labor force as defined by BLS is the sum of only those persons who are employed or actively pressing for work.)

The labor force exodus is so acute that it's estimated by some market handicappers that the national unemployment rate would stand north of 11 percent had today's labor force resembled the larger one Obama inherited at his inauguration. For reference, the average unemployment rate under former President George W. Bush was 5.3 percent.

Today's jobs market is so inhospitable that the share of the eligible population that currently holds a job has shrunk to 58.1 percent, the lowest point at which the employment-to-population ratio has registered since 1983.

But Huntsman has some advice for President Obama: "implement the type of pro-growth policies and free-market reforms that made Utah the top state for job creation when I was Governor."

As a recent National Review analysis of the various Republican contenders' job creation records revealed, Huntsman, who leads the pack, has some gravitas on getting folks to work. ("Among the crowd who governed primarily during the 2000s, Huntsman has the best record.")

Not only did the pace at which the former governor create jobs outstrip all GOP rivals, it likewise outstripped all other states. During Huntsman's time in office, from January 2005 to August 2009, Utah's employment increased by 5.9 percent, for which the Beehive State ranked first in the nation.

Jon Huntsman, Press Release - Labor Force Exodus Reason For Unemployment Dip, Not Obama Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/298826

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