Participation In American Labor Force Drops To Historic Low (Again)


Not since the Presidency of Jimmy Carter has participation in the U.S. labor force been as low as it is today. The difference between the Carter Administration and that of President Barack Obama, though, is that job growth under Carter was outpacing the rate at which people were entering, or re-entering, the labor force.

Today, under Obama, the opposite is happening. People are dropping out, because there’s often more incentive to accept a bevy of ever-expanding, low-threshold government doles than a part-time, low-wage service job.

Carter finished his single term in office with 10.5 million more Americans working than when he took office. The Obama Administration has taken credit for a steady uptick in job creation, with the President repeatedly touting the creation of 4.5 million new jobs as he campaigned for re-election.

But those weren’t “new” jobs. They were old jobs people had lost during the recession. Only 300,000 of those jobs represented a net gain for the U.S. labor force. Here’s how CNN’s Election Center explained Obama’s spin:

[T]otal nonfarm payrolls, including government workers, are down from 133.6 million workers at the beginning of 2009 to 133.2 million in July 2012. There’s been a net loss of nearly 1 million public-sector jobs since Obama took office, despite a surge in temporary hiring for the 2010 census.

Meanwhile, the jobs that have come back aren’t the same ones that were lost.

Are you better off?

According to a study released last week by the liberal-leaning National Employment Law Project, low-wage fields such as retail sales and food service are adding jobs nearly three times as fast as higher-paid occupations.

And even The Washington Post took Obama to task over the summer for bumping up his claims of increasing manufacturing jobs, taking apart the President’s broken-record refrain that he’d added 7 million new jobs, including 500,000 in the manufacturing sector:

By July 2012, the number of manufacturing jobs had risen to 11.957 million, or just shy of a 500,000 job gain. That’s when it became part of the President’s campaign rhetoric.

But at that point, the number also stopping (sic) climbing and instead began bouncing around.

In August 2012, 14,000 manufacturing jobs were lost. In the next month, an additional 18,000 were lost. Then came several months of gains — followed by three months of losses. The preliminary numbers in the employment report released Friday show a loss of 9,000 manufacturing jobs in April and 8,000 in May.

So here we are, nearly one year later, and the United States is still stuck at a gain of 500,000 jobs.

More striking, rather than month-by-month figures, look at the trend when year-to-year calculations are made:

Gain in manufacturing jobs

Jan. 2012 to Jan. 2013: +124,000

Feb. 2012 to Feb. 2013: +118,000

March 2012 to March 2013: +74,000

April 2012 to April 2013: +55,000

May 2012 to May 2013: +41,000

In other words, it’s a downhill trend — headed possibly to zero.

Sure, there’s a bright side, if you’re looking for part-time work with no insurance: part-time jobs have grown a rate sevenfold that of full-time jobs under Obama.

And swinging back around to the shrinking labor force, we come to the latest round of numbers released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. What we learn is that a record-high 91.5 million people aren’t even participating in the labor force, that labor force participation stands at 62.8 percent, and that 932,000 more Americans gave up looking for work in October alone.

“At this pace the people out of the labor force will surpass the working Americans in about 4 years,” observes investment website Zero Hedge.

Obama continues to spin the facts about job growth as a way to demonstrate he’s turned around the abysmal economy he inherited from George W. Bush, but he touts his job growth numbers in a vacuum –one that disregards the troubling fact that more and more people are discouraged from (or enticed, by the welfare state) from even looking for work.

Obama, who’s been President for nearly five years now, doesn’t have to contend with double-digit inflation, as Carter did. And even though participation in the labor force was similarly light during Carter’s Presidency, the economy continued to add jobs eventually drawing dormant job seekers back into the labor force.


Personal Liberty

Ben Bullard

Reconciling the concept of individual sovereignty with conscientious participation in the modern American political process is a continuing preoccupation for staff writer Ben Bullard. A former community newspaper writer, Bullard has closely observed the manner in which well-meaning small-town politicians and policy makers often accept, unthinkingly, their increasingly marginal role in shaping the quality of their own lives, as well as those of the people whom they serve. He argues that American public policy is plagued by inscrutable and corrupt motives on a national scale, a fundamental problem which individuals, families and communities must strive to solve. This, he argues, can be achieved only as Americans rediscover the principal role each citizen plays in enriching the welfare of our Republic.

Join the Discussion

Comment Policy: We encourage an open discussion with a wide range of viewpoints, even extreme ones, but we will not tolerate racism, profanity or slanderous comments toward the author(s) or comment participants. Make your case passionately, but civilly. Please don't stoop to name calling. We use filters for spam protection. If your comment does not appear, it is likely because it violates the above policy or contains links or language typical of spam. We reserve the right to remove comments at our discretion.

  • 1baronrichsnot1

    Why would these folks keep looking? Take the fed money, take a job and sell your soul, the payroll deductions leave you nothing! Funny how marxism, socialism, and corruption works! It makes a mockery of the people who never give up looking. Yep, 0 is a good estimate of jobs created given every agenda of this administration being implemented has nothing to do with creating jobs, just name me one!

  • TexasOlTimer

    If this administration included fuel and food in the inflation rate as was done in the Carter years, we would have double digit inflation. During Bush’s administration, the left was screaming “recession” although it wasn’t until the latter years when Congress was taken over by the Dems that the actual number of months reach for the definition of ‘recession’ was reached. I can remember when we had about 4-5% unemployment rate. It was the Dems and liberals that forced banks to loan money for homes to those that couldn’t afford to repay that created the crisis but Bush is blamed for it. The bust we had at the beginning of Bush’s administration is never mentioned.

  • Muffin Man Mashinksy

    Carter looks like George Washington compared to OBOZO…at least he cared!

  • Elton Robb

    In today’s economy, its a better climate to start your own company or business. Of course Obama is going around saying, “you didn’t build that.” However, its your actions that built your company in the first place. :) Multi-national companies are outsourcing, looking for a more economical way to pay their way to prosperity.

    The American public has had a spirit of Greed within their hearts since 1913. The Federal Reserve Act was the manifestation of this greed. Ask anyone if they will take a 10 dollar an hour job working in the workforce — most of the time it would be, “no, I won’t.” Also, because of this greed, we have had our inflation rates (again, see sentence 2). If the American People would give up their greed for money, we would be a lot better off.

    Whoa, look at me, a man who is desiring Wealth making this statement about greed. Before some democrat in the basement turns on me and says I’m a greedy republican, let me tell you something. Americans generally love money for all the wrong reasons and hates it for all the wrong reasons.

    A. there is nothing wrong with wealth. Money is not evil.

    B. Poverty is a sin, or it is sinful to live in poverty. When I was told that poverty was a sin, the first thing that popped into my mind was the City of Zion. The people of the City of Zion (built during the Atlantean Age) had achieved wealth in such a way that no one was in poverty. Everyone created wealth, and this was achieved by a general spirit of Charity among the people of the City of Zion.

    C. Wealth is an unlimited resource. Anyone can create wealth, and it doesn’t matter how they obtain it. Either through the labor of their own minds and hands, or through charity or a combination of both.

    D. We can stop theft, rape, and murder by ennobling the poor, dignifying them. We can also teach the proper use of sexuality among the people. And we can stop murder by teaching that human life is sacred. Even little babies in the womb.

    E. We can end world hunger tomorrow by sharing the bounty of food and water for everyone. The people who control most of the money on the planet can change how they perceive us and can make the world a better place if everyone changes their paradigm from being treated as cattle (the whole reason why they treat us as Cattle is because we want to be treated as cattle — the liberals who get on this site to argue with us want to be treated as cattle to be herded rather than forge ahead their own destinies, it’s one of the reasons why the New World Order is being implemented) to being treated as human beings.

    F. We can employ everyone if everyone is willing to live within their means. We don’t have to have a 24 inch, wall mounted plasma screen t.v. Most of us don’t need a unique home (although they wonderful to dream about! :) ). If we are willing to live within our means, we can build wealth from there.

    G. We can get everyone literate in the United States, and we can have people trained in the higher aspects of Mathematics if we are willing, and yes that means you liberals, to remove our burdens and our yokes and be treated as human beings.

    H. We can turn this country around, get everyone off the government dole, and get everyone working and trading money for things that they desire.

    All we need is a paradigm change. One in which the people would be willing to give up their greed and take action. To live within their means, to make money for all, to make sure everyone has wealth if we can get everyone to build their wealth on their own and to work with their own two hands and their minds. We need to remove greed and avarice from our hearts, to accept charity, and to dignify ourselves. Once we do that, paving our streets with gold is just around the corner.

    Wealth is an unlimited resource. In Socialism, Wealth is a finite resource that needs to be spread around; in the system I described, Wealth is unlimited and everyone can be wealthy.

    So, how to combat greed? Well, the people need to be educated. They need to be educated that greed and avarice is wicked and stupid, and that we need to seek personal growth in order to help each other get over our negative feelings about money. I say we need to abolish Christmas. Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus Christ except that we are dismissing him from our lives and worshiping mammon. We need to promote gift giving through out the year as a charitable act of kindness.

    We also need to abolish Easter. Easter also has nothing to do with Jesus Christ, and we should observe the three judaical feasts — Passover, the Feast of Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. These were instituted by Jehovah for a symbolic reason.

    Thirdly, everyone should be encouraged to attend church. It doesn’t matter what church they go to, as long as they attend -a- church. You can’t force deists or atheists to attend church, however. That’s against their right to disbelieve (yes, they have a right to disbelieve).

    Fourthly, we need to get rid of any pastor that is teaching communism from the bible. The pastors are probably the best drivers and shakers of American society. If we are going to be led into bondage and slavery through Communism, it is because of these pastors and religious leaders.

    Fifthly, we should encourage spirituality amongst the people, rather than worldliness. Spirituality is a personal relationship with God.

    Sixthly, We need to encourage private charity programs and put government into it’s proper place.

    So, how are we going to achieve this? Well, the first thing we are going to do is to change ourselves individually. Before we can get the U.S. house in order, we need to get our own houses in order. We start with ourselves, then with our family, and then with our communities. We need to liberate ourselves. We need to live within our means and build to the point where we can afford luxury.

    Edit: Sorry everyone, I unconsciously said that luxury was evil. It’s not, what I mean is, we need to give up luxury now so we can have it later. :)

    • Muffin Man Mashinksy

      Loved your post, so many wonderful insights…..But,You are wrong about Christmas & Easter……Jesus was not born on Dec. 25th, but the forces of Light made that his symbolic birthday because it was darkest time of year & He is The Light of the World….Christmas brings hope & joy to many, like all things on earth it can be used for good or evil….Easter was used by forces of Light to remind all of Resurrection as spring brings rejuvenation & regeneration & in bosom of God there is no such thing as Death!

      Vows of poverty by some in Catholic Church is actually a perversion…With God abundance is infinite & limitless, if my neighbor has big slice, it does not mean mine has to be small…God loved Abraham & he was rich man, it is greed that is evil & also Obummer’s class warfare 1% vs. 99%…WITH GOD ALL IS ONE!!!

      INNER MEANING (True Meaning) of Government=”GOD OVER MEN”…it does not matter what system you have, if leaders & citizens are not walking with God, sincerely praying & asking for Counsel & yearning to do His Will, it will never work!

      • Elton Robb

        You have your right to believe that Christmas and Easter are god-sanctioned. Although I have a question. Why is the U.S. going to be nuked on the 21st of December?

    • joe

      24 inch wall mounted plasma? thats a really small TV. Beyond that you’re kinda a nutjob, i realize that America is one of the few developed countries where education is apparently still poor enough that a significant portion of the population are as faithful as you however simply changing the world to better conform to your religious values will not fix anything. All it will do is teach people to aspire to one day own televisions smaller than the laptop screen i’m typing this on :).

    • Robert Messmer

      Actually all we need is for Obama to declare that money is now obsolete and everything, everywhere is free. That would really show those evil, greedy, 1%.

  • Deerinwater

    That’s because both men had to address the same issues. ~ A scaling back of military and the economical rubber band effect that it presences with unemployed soldiers coming home to few jobs.

    If fact in Obama case , many soldiers joined up to have a job and insure their families, finding conditions just as bad when they returned.

    My comments can be so well supported, I wouldn’t think that I need to.

    “W” administration presided over an economic free fall that was NOT matched with Nixon’s. This is due largely to the fact “W” was preoccupied with the war, and surrounded with enough “Yes Men” that he manage to ignore the “Stall, spin, crash and burn” until final months of his second term.

    Pull up 2008 national economy.

  • Robert Messmer

    So we should be praising Obama for shrinking government? The article says “There’s been a net loss of nearly 1 million public-sector jobs since Obama took office”, I mean public-sector that is government because private sector is not. So Obama has actually managed to shrink, at least slightly, government.

  • Cathy Hovey

    Wow, I’m shocked that CNN said anything at all about Obummer, since he truly controls them above all the others. The CEO of CNN is a homosexual and so is Barry, so CNN makes sure they take care of Obummer.
    Other than that, make sure you all watch Agenda: Grinding Down America, on youtube or at this site – It explains the entire takeover of our country to turn it into a communist country. It’s a MUST SEE for every American. Please watch and then pass the word.