As economist John Lott noted at FoxNews.com on October 5, the working age population grew by 206,000 last month. With two-thirds of those working as would be expected during a normal recovery, 138,000 new jobs would have been necessary in September just to keep pace with population growth.
Indeed, the working age population has increased by 8.4 million since President Obama entered office. With the same labor force participation as on Inauguration Day in January, 2009 (which would be closer to a real recovery), that would require 5.5 million new jobs just to keep up with the aforementioned population growth. But a generous reading of the data is that during President Obama's entire term in office, a grand total of only 787,000 jobs have been created overall on net. And all of that net growth came in the last month. As of August, 2012, the economy was still suffering a net loss of jobs during Obama's entire Presidency up to that point.
Moreover, the BLS also reported on Friday that the number of full time jobs declined by 216,000 last month, as Lott also noted. The unemployment rate declined to 7.8% only because of a reported surprise September spurt of 873,000 jobs in the separate Household Survey of families across the nation. That reported increase is anomalous for the reasons discussed below. But even the actual story the BLS is telling is not good. In addition to all of the above, the supposed September increase in Household Survey jobs was mostly in what the BLS calls part time work for economic reasons. The BLS explains, "These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job." That applied to 582,000 of the supposed new jobs reported by the September Household Survey, and a total of 8.6 million Americans last month.
As the Wall Street Journal editorialized last weekend,
"Working part time is certainly preferable to not working at all, but it's tough to pay the mortgage, energy, medical and grocery bills with a 20-hour-a-week job. The job market has been bad for so long that people are settling for any paycheck they can get. One suspect in this shift to part-time work is the cost of providing health insurance, especially with ObamaCare looming."