Newest piece in the Philadelphia Inquirer: "Speeches won't boost economy"
President Obama arrives in Pennsylvania today to push up his sagging approval ratings. But he faces a tough sell. According to the latest Gallup poll, his job approval rating on the economy stands at just 35 percent.
We are more than four years into the "recovery," and one thing is clear: This continues to be by far the worst recovery on record. And that goes for general growth in gross domestic product as well as for job growth.
While the unemployment rate has fallen from its peak of 10 percent down to 7.4 percent, that doesn't mean many new jobs. People are classified as unemployed only as long as they are actively looking for work. The unemployment rate can thus fall either because people have found jobs or because they have given up looking for work. In this case, about 70 percent of the drop has been because people have given up looking.
Job growth has been abysmal. Jobs have increased by 2.9 percent in the more than four years since the recovery started, but that is less than a third the job growth seen in the average recovery since 1970, and less than a fourth the growth seen after other severe recessions.
The number of new jobs hasn't come close to keeping up with the growth in the working-age population, and the percentage of the population working has quickly fallen to a level we haven't seen since the 1970s.
But a closer look shows the picture is actually even bleaker:
A stunning 97 percent of the net jobs added this year have been part-time jobs. . . .