Nothing special in yesterday's financial news. So let's turn from farce to fraud...that is, to the US unemployment figures.
President Obama has to defend his policies, pretending that they have brought a real recovery. One of the pillars of his case, say the papers, is that unemployment has gone down.
The trouble with this as a re-election strategy is that the people who need to vote for Obama are the people who know it isn't true.
Washington Blog reports:
- There are 243 million working age Americans.
- There are 142 million employed Americans.
- Only 101 million of the employed Americans are working more than 35 hours per week. This means that only 41.6% of all working age Americans have a full-time job.
- According to the government drones at the BLS, 88 million Americans have "chosen" to not be in the labor force - the highest level in US history.
- The percentage of Americans in the workforce at 63.8% is the lowest since 1980 and down from a peak of 67.1% in 2000. The difference between these two percentages is 8 million Americans.
- The BLS reports there are only 12.7 million unemployed Americans in the country, down from 15.3 million in 2009.
- The BLS reports the unemployment rate has dropped from 10% in late 2009 to 8.3% today. Over this time frame the working age population grew by 5.7 million, while the number of employed Americans grew by 3.6 million. Only a government drone could interpret this data and report a dramatic decline in the unemployment rate.
Since 2000, the working age population of the US has grown by 30 million. But the actual number of people with jobs has grown only by 12 million.
And if they reported the unemployment rate today the same way they did during the Great Depression, unemployment would be at 22% - only slightly below the level of the '30s.
So, what happens to all the people who don't find work? They go on disability!
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Social Security's disability trust fund will run out of money in four years - in 2016. It will be amazing if it lasts that long. Because the disability rolls are growing twice as fast as the employment rolls.
Yes, dear reader, since the recession ended, officially, in June '09, for every new person who has found a job, two supposedly have been disabled. At least, they've been added to the list of people receiving SSID benefits.
Could you get on disability, dear reader? Maybe. We went to the website to see if we could qualify. You just have to show that you have a condition that will prevent you from working for at least a year. And you must show that you've been employed in the past. If you're 60 years old, for example, you need to show 9-1/2 years of previous employment.
During the Nixon administration, approximately 2% of the labor force was disabled. Now, it's over 6%.
Disability, not employment, is Obama's real achievement. Since June 2009, he's added 4.7 million people who are judged too crippled, too stupid, too fat, or just too lazy and depressed to find work.
Of course, you can't blame them. The feds set up a zombie economy. It protects and rewards zombie industries - healthcare that doesn't really make people healthier, education that doesn't make them any smarter, defense that doesn't make them any more secure and finance that takes the feds' money and pockets it.
It turns both rich and poor into parasites.
Bill Bonner for The Daily Reckoning Australia