Donald Lambro

WASHINGTON -- The unemployment numbers came out last week, but these were not the nationwide 8.9-percent average that was announced with much hoopla earlier this month, capturing all of the headlines.

These were the Bureau of Labor Statisics' state-by-state unemployment rates that painted a much gloomier and more realistic picture of the failure of President Obama's economic policies to create jobs for unemployed Americans. They were not reported on the network nightly news, but they should have been.

The BLS numbers showed that half of all the states, as well as the District of Columbia, had unemployment rates of 9 percent or higher, much higher. Seventeen of the states, including the largest, Florida (11.9 percent) and California (12.4 percent), had severe jobless rates of between 9.5 percent and 14.2 percent.

States with 10 percent unemployment or worse included Nevada, 14.2; Rhode Island, 11.3; Michigan 10.7; South Carolina, 10.5; Oregon, 10.4; Kentucky, 10.4; Georgia, 10.4; and Mississippi 10.1.

No amount of "We're doing better," than we were in the midst of the 2008 to 2009 recession, or "We're moving in the right direction," can wipe away these unacceptable numbers.

Obama hasn't been saying much about unemployment lately, and he has proposed no new initiatives to strengthen the American economy and spur increased job creation in the private sector, where most of the jobs are produced.

The president has clearly distanced himself from this hot political issue and has been AWOL in the latest state and federal battles over job creation and economic growth. He is taking increasing flak even from Democrats for his failure to lead efforts to reduce the budget deficit, and on other issues. He thinks "We're doing better," will win him a second term in 2012.

But these problems are not going away, and if anything, they could get worse, much worse, and the biggest impediment to stronger growth is the unprecedented $1.6 trillion budget deficit forecast by the Congressional Budget Office and a mounting $14 trillion in debt.

President Clinton's former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, speaking in a public forum this week, says the troubled Obama economy still faces "serious headwinds" that are blocking future economic growth. And they include, he said, "our long-term fiscal trajectory" which -- not mincing words -- he called "horrendous, unsustainable and dangerous."

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.