Just when you feel like you're going to throw up, some thug punches you in the gut. That's what today's jobs report from the Labor Department felt like. A mere 69,000 jobs created in the month of May – less than half of the already lackluster expectation – and the disappointing March and April jobs reports were revised downward by 49,000. Unsurprisingly, the unemployment rate increased to 8.2%. The number of long-term Americans (those jobless for 27 weeks or longer) rose from 5.1 to 5.4 million in May, representing 42.8% of the unemployed.
One thing that every single American shares in common is that we are all consumers, and consumers voiced no-confidence in Obamanomics a few days before the Labor Department's jobs report. The Consumer Confidence Index dropped to 64.9 for May, marking the third consecutive monthly decline, and still far below any hint of a return to a healthy economy.
As the following chart courtesy of Investor's Business Daily demonstrates, the American consumer has found little reason for increased optimism since the President arrogantly announced nearly three years ago that he had "rescued our economy from catastrophe" and the recovery had officially begun. By contrast, just six months into the Reagan-era recovery from the 1981-82 recession the Consumer Confidence Index returned to 90 – indicating a "healthy economy"- and climbed even higher thereafter. The Index hasn't been anywhere close to 90 since December 2007.
The May calculation of the Consumer Confidence Index is particularly disheartening as analysts had expected a slight uptick to 70 based on some recent relief in gas prices. However, continued concerns about declining home values, dismal job reports, stock market volatility, and growing concerns about the European economy contributed to another month of a declining Index.
Obama had promised that happy days would have returned well before now when he signed his $800 billion Stimulus into law just weeks after taking office, but the only thing that got stimulated was government. "Uncertainty" is the word most used to describe the failed leadership and policies of this Administration. And, most Americans aren't at all convinced that the recession is really over.
For all the hope and hype when Obama took office, Americans now have 3 ½ years of disappointing evidence that his policies haven't worked.
In addition to the horrible jobs report, GDP growth that was already lagging was revised downward yesterday by the Commerce Department to an anemic 1.9%. About 23 million Americans are out of work, underemployed, or have given up even trying to find a job. Half of all college graduates can't find full-time jobs in their profession a year after finishing school, and scores are forced to move back home with their parents. Families have lost one-third of the value in their home resulting in 31.4% of homeowners underwater on their mortgage. Median household income is down $4,300. The percentage of the population employed or looking for a job is the smallest in more than 30 years. And, the federal debt has increased 50% just since Obama took office.
And yet, last month Obama claimed that "extraordinary progress" had been made in recovering from the economic downturn. What?
Noticeably – and understandably – on the campaign trail Obama wants to talk about anything but his own abysmal record of under-performance and unfilled promises. But, the voters know.
Americans are optimistic by nature; our glass is always at least half full and the sun is always going to come out tomorrow. Whether they voted for Barack Obama or not, Americans wanted the country to do well, but they have been enormously disappointed.
In 2008 the voters were ready to embrace an endless list of hope-and-change promises, but they aren't likely to be so gullible again. This has been a tough stretch, and the American people had every expectation for something better. As is said, "Fool me once; shame on you. Fool me twice; shame on me." In this election Mitt Romney – a man who actually does have real-world experience turning around the most difficult situations in business, the Olympics, and government – will be the other very credible choice on the ballot. Real hope for a better tomorrow can begin on November 6, election day.