President Barack Obama’s speech last night at the Democratic National Convention was exactly what it was supposed to be: inspiring, passionate, and energizing. Unfortunately, today’s jobs report signals a dismal close to the week as it casts a dark pall over the president’s accomplishments.
According to the Department of Labor’s latest jobs report released Friday, the economy added 96,000 jobs in August, down from 141,000 jobs in July. Meanwhile, the unemployment ratefell to 8.1%, from 8.3% in July, reports CNN Money. Though the president’s speech undoubtedly roused his base and may have swayed some key independent votes, the jobs report may curtail some of the renewed enthusiasm surrounding President Obama.
“If last night was the party, this morning is the hangover,” said GOP opponent Mitt Romney. “For every net new job created, nearly four Americans gave up looking for work entirely. This is more of the same for middle class families who are suffering through the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression. After 43 straight months of unemployment above eight per cent, it is clear that President Obama just hasn’t lived up to his promises and his policies haven’t worked. We aren’t better off than they were four years ago. My plan for a stronger middle class will create 12 million new jobs by the end of my first term. America deserves new leadership that will get our economy moving again.”
The lowered unemployment percentage shows that 368,000 people left the labor force in the last month. Additionally, the share of working-age people who are either working or looking for work (also known as the labor-force participation rate) fell to its lowest level since September 1981, reports Businessweek.
President Obama, for his part, is not naive to the reality of the struggling economy. Unemployment has been floating consistently above 8% since 2009, putting the nation at its longest period of unemployment since the Great Depression. He acknowledged this in his DNC speech Thursday: “Yes, our road is longer, but we travel it together,” The president said. He argued that his plan to rebuild the economy “may be harder but it leads to a better place.”
Though there were several half-truths, spun facts, and exaggerated accomplishments flying around the DNC last night, this morning’s report balances the true nature of President Obama’s DNC push. As honest and moderate as we can make it, the president needs four more years to set the ship right again. Whether or not you choose to trust in him, well, you’ll have to decide with the rest of us in November.