Friday, August 3, 2012

Unemployment

The official US unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3% in the month of July, despite over 150K jobs created. There are a couple of debates over why this is, some looking at it positively, some negatively.

Those looking at it positively state that the official rate may have gone up because more people were looking for work, indicated greater confidence in the job market. Those looking at it negatively, of course, state that the unemployment rate has gone up. Romney, in a brief statement to reporters, called this a "hammer blow" to the middle class.

It's worth noting, though, that the overall trend for unemployment has been downward for the last few years. Since 2010, when the unemployment rate spiked at around 10%, it's gone down considerably. Here's a great graph to show you. If you'll notice, Obama's first year in office saw a spike in unemployment. Sure, he was President, but he was working off of Bush's last budget, and had not put any policies in place yet to counter the job losses. Jump to 2010, and the number starts to fall. It jumps in a few places, and is certainly not going down quickly, but the overall trend is that the unemployment rate has dropped since 2010, so for a year and a half. The lowest it's gone since Obama took office was 8.1% in April of this year. We've ticked up .2% since. Again, looking at the graph, that's not out of the ordinary.

I would also like to point out that, though the unemployment rate was much lower in the Bush years, this huge upswing started long before Barack Obama was elected or entered the White House. So far, our President has helped to bring it down by a good amount, especially considering the projections made by most economists who said it would take 10 years minimum to right the ship.

So, don't get too discouraged by this jump in unemployment. Remember, the overall trend has been positive.

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