WASHINGTON - Another weak jobs report came out last week, drawing yawns from Democrats, excuses from the White House, and shallow reporting from the media.
President Obama has just finished a string of speeches on jobs and the economy, issues that pollsters say are the voters' biggest concerns, but he's failed to offer any new ideas about how to deal with them.
He traveled around the country repeating the same old ideas he's pushed since 2009: public works spending for roads, bridges and other infrastructure -- failed ideas that didn't work before and won't work now.
The bleak reality is that the Obama economy, which was growing at a snail's pace in his first term, is slowing down even more in his second.
Economic growth, as measured by our gross domestic product, grew at a barely-breathing 1.4 percent annualized rate in the first six months of this year. That's down from 2.5 percent over the same period in 2012. This isn't just a statistic. It's the falling pulse rate of the U.S. economy that has hurt millions of Americans and their families who are either unemployed or underemployed.
The Labor Department's employment report last Friday showed the economy adding a minuscule 162,000 jobs in July, out of a labor force of about 160 million Americans. A large number of these jobs were in temporary, part-time, low-paying work, and nowhere near levels needed to bring unemployment down to more normal levels.
Left out of many network news stories was the fact that the government also reduced its job creation estimates for the previous two months and said that workers not only earned less but worked fewer hours, too.
Obama has been saying for more than four and a half years that the economy's getting better, that it is "moving in the right direction."
But that's like saying a student who was getting F's on his economic report card is now getting D's.
The national news media had been hyping the expected jobs number for weeks, pushing the administration's line -- and that of independent forecasters -- that July's figures could top 200,000.
But the 162,000 figure made all of those hyped jobs reports and claims that the U.S. was in a full recovery look ridiculous.
The Washington Post, which had called previous sub-par job figures "solid" or "robust," now acknowledges the truth about the economy's weakening performance. It's that bad.
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