Donald Lambro

According to the most recent BLS state-by-state unemployment numbers, nearly half the states have jobless rates over 9 percent, and 10 states were in the double digits: Mississippi, 10.2 percent; Kentucky, 10.3 percent; Georgia, 10.4 percent; Oregon, 10.6 percent; South Carolina, 10.9 percent; Michigan, 11.1 percent; Rhode Island, 11.5 percent; Florida, 12 percent; California, 12.5 percent; and Nevada, 14.9 percent.

Another dozen states had unemployment in the 9.1 percent to 9.7 percent range that had many Americans dubious about the White House's exuberant claims that the economy was back on track and that the president's policies "are working." These state unemployment numbers should provide the White House with a strong dose of reality -- especially in pivotal electoral states like Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Missouri or West Virginia.

If Obama and the Democrats really think they're going to enter the 2012 elections bragging about lower unemployment, they may be in for a big surprise. "It is still early to break out the champagne, because the February surge came after a weak January when only 36,000 jobs were added," said University of Maryland economist Peter Morici.

"This economy must add 13 million private sector jobs over the next three years -- 360,000 each month -- to bring unemployment down to 6 percent," Morici said in his latest jobs report analysis.

"Core private sector jobs -- health and social services jobs and temp positions -- must grow at least 300,000 a month to accomplish that goal," he said.

There are no signs in this economy or in Obama's future policies (if he has any) that would yield such employment numbers. Indeed, he has a long way to go to match George W. Bush's low 4.7 percent unemployment rate in 2007, the year before the recession struck.

If Obama has a jobs agenda, it not only isn't working, it is killing the industries that can create the jobs we need.

With the price of oil exceeding $100 a barrel and regular gasoline approaching, and in some places hitting, $4 a gallon, that could very likely mean slower growth and less job creation as consumers rein in spending and businesses cut back on hiring.

What is Obama's policy on energy? He's imposing moratoriums on deep water drilling for oil and elsewhere in the U.S. when we should be expanding oil exploration and production and refineries to bring gas prices down.

Manufacturing job creation remains anemic, not only because of a weak economy, but because this administration is doing nothing to negotiate and enact trade agreements that would open up overseas markets to U.S. goods.

The American people are looking for some straight talk on jobs and they aren't getting it, not from the nightly news, which ignores the story and not from the White House, which is in denial about its own anti-jobs, anti-growth policies.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.