President Obama claims "By every measure, economy is better." Is it? Time for a fact check.

President Obama claims "By every measure, economy is better." Is it? Time for a fact check.

June 26, 2014

President Obama, addressing a townhall-style crowd in Minneapolis today made the claim that “by pretty much every measure, the economy is doing better than when I first took office.” This bold assertion should raise some serious eyebrows, beyond those wondering why the president is still wasting taxpayer dollars flying around the country and campaigning despite winning reelection. If Mr. Obama honestly feels that the economy is improving by “pretty much every measure”, then he and his team must not be evaluating the measures that actually matter.

Take the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), or economic, growth figures for example.  The president’s comments on the economy’s supposed strength come just a day after the Department of Commerce revised the Q1-2014 figures to reflect nearly a 3 percent contraction of the economy. This is the largest contraction since the technical end of the ‘Great Recession’ caused by the financial crisis more than 5 years ago.  One more dismal quarter of negative growth and the economy will be back in a recession, despite trillions of dollars worth of deficit spending aimed at stimulating growth.

Another key measure of how the economy is doing for the average American is lit up on virtually every street corner in the United States.  Heading into the July 4th holiday weekend, the nationwide-average price for a gallon of gasoline is $3.75. When Mr. Obama assumed office, the average retail price was $1.84. In real terms, Americans are paying more at the pump now than during the height of the energy crisis and gas shortages of the late 1970s and early 80s.

Curiously, though, it’s not just the statistics that he failed to mention that prove President Obama categorically wrong on his assessment of the economy. Mr. Obama bravely mentioned the unemployment rate as some sort of validation of his claim. Indeed the unemployment rate has been steadily falling. That being said, to claim that the recent steady slide of the official unemployment rate is a sign of a recovering economy is unequivocally dishonest.

That’s because as the current unemployment rate slides, so too does the labor force participation rate. The labor force participation rate, for those unfamiliar, is the percentage of able-bodied workers that either have a job or are somewhat actively involved in seeking employment. The current rate is 62.8 percent; it’s lowest level since 1978. In January 2009, the month Mr. Obama assumed office the rate was 65.7 percent. If the rate were the same today as it was then, the actual unemployment rate would be 10.4 percent, well above the reported 6.3 percent, and downright dismal.

We could go on and on, but for now this is sufficient to invalidate the president’s claims today. By ‘pretty much’ every pertinent measure, the economy is getting worse. Such explains why by ‘pretty much’ every measure, the American people increasingly distrust this administration. 

It's Time for an American Encore