Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

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Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Obama’s Solid Economy


The Labor Department reported that our economy added 156,000 jobs in December and the unemployment rate inched up to 4.7 percent.  The unemployment rate in November was 4.6 percent, which was the lowest level since August 2007.  Although, the job growth was slightly below the average for the year, last month marked the 75th straight month of job gains.  This report is the last before President Obama leaves office.

Since Obama took office in 2009, our economy has added over 11 million jobs.  He has claimed that our economy has added 15 million jobs during his time as president.  But, that is true, only if you discount the job losses during the recession and start counting jobs that have been added since February 2010.

Nevertheless, we’ve witnessed remarkable improvement since unemployment reached a peak of 10 percent in October 2009.  The gains have been uneven and many Americans feel left behind.  Wage growth has been slow to improve.  About 5.7 million Americans who have part-time jobs want full-time jobs.  Economic growth overall has been sluggish.  Therefore, many Americans became frustrated, which apparently factored into President-elect Donald Trump winning the election.

There remains widespread discontent over lost manufacturing jobs.  In Obama's first month in office in 2009, when there were 12.5 million manufacturing workers.  That figure fell to 11.4 million in 2010.

Manufacturing jobs reached 12.2 million in November, which is almost back to where they were eight years ago.  The difference is that a growing share of the new jobs require advanced skills.

In 2000, there were about 17 million manufacturing jobs in America.  There are far fewer factory workers today, because of our free market economy and automation.  Manufacturing workers who were in low-skilled positions most likely didn’t get many of the new factory positions. 

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