BLS_Labor_Force_Participation_Rate_1990-2015

Mark Twain had a colorful description of what he called three kinds of lies – culminating with statistics being the greatest.  Obama’s State of the Union Address played fast and loose with the truth on a number of issues, and his comments about the economy were optimistic at best.  Obama has been heralding unemployment at 5.0%.  Here is the truth about the health of our workforce.

The graph above is the workforce participation rate (the graph and statistics come from www.bls.gov).  It shows what percentage of our population ages 16 years and older are gainfully employed.  In October of 2009, unemployment was 10% and workforce participation was over 65%.  Today, Obama is touting 5% unemployment (5% lower than 2009) and yet the workforce participation rate is 2.5% lower than it was when unemployment was at 10%!  There are fewer people working – the lower unemployment rate is not telling the whole story.

Then there is the fact that wages are actually contracting.  From the U.S. Census Bureau (pg 7), “Median household income was $53,657 in 2014…6.5 percent lower than the 2007 (the year before the most recent recession) median ($57,357), and 7.2 percent lower than the median household income peak ($57,843) that occurred in 1999.”  (2015 data is not yet available.)

While the economy may look good to Obama, the average American has not seen the benefit – it has gotten worse.  Every.  Year.

The regulatory environment, especially Obamacare, is an oppressive weight to small business and many individuals.  The federal government has smothered out the economic engine and the people need relief.  Unfortunately, Congress has not been an effective check/balance against an overreaching Executive.  Our ‘representatives’ appear more committed to lobbyists and special interest than the benefit of the people.

It is time for change.  We need a president that will lead us in a positive direction and we need Congressional representation that will work for the people.