After more than a year of excuses, exaggerations and statistical somersaults, the economy that Obama insists is now on the mend produced only 41,000 private sector jobs in May, less than one-fifth as many in April. More than 15 million Americans are unemployed, and millions more have either been forced to work part-time or have dropped out of the labor force entirely.
But this time, no amount of political sleight of hand can hide the fact that Obama's nearly $1 trillion spending stimulus plan has been a colossal failure.
The economy has produced jobs in some sectors, mostly on its own, but not enough to keep pace with the hundreds of thousands of Americans entering the workforce pool each year.
As readers of this column know, I have been writing throughout the year that the jobless rate will remain somewhere between 9 and 10 percent for the rest of 2010. And, under present policies, we are unlikely to get back to a normal unemployment range for several years.
"The economy must add more than 13 million mostly private sector jobs to bring unemployment down to 6 percent by the end of 2013," said University of Maryland economist Peter Morici in a recent analysis.
The administration's jobs report last week was filled with bleak statistics, but "one statistic presents a stark reminder of the challenges that remain: Nearly half of the unemployed -- 45.9 percent -- have been out of work longer than six months, more than at any time since the Labor Department began keeping track in 1948," writes Wall Street Journal economics analyst Sara Murray.
"The effects of long-term unemployment are likely to linger when the overall jobless rate falls toward normal, threatening to create a pool of nearly permanently unemployed workers, a condition once more common in Europe than in the U.S.," she notes.