You may remember that the Obama administration produced a chart by in January 2009 to demonstrate their view that unemployment would never rise about 8% if his stimulus package were passed. However, we now know that unemployment has in fact been greater than 8% for every single month of Obama’s Presidency. The chart to the left (click to enlarge) is an updated version of one we have reviewed here before by James Pethokoukis. It is the administration’s original chart with actual unemployment since the “recovery plan” was implemented with an additional dot added showing where unemployment would be if the labor participation rate were the same today as it was in January 2009.
However, what may be even more interesting is this chart below (click to enlarge) by Political Calculations. It shows what the unemployment rate would be from January 2002 until today if the labor force participation rate were the same as in January 2009:
On the Bush side of the chart, you can see far more people choosing to work or seek work than during the Obama years, which is why unemployment would be lower pre-2009 with the same participation rate as post-2009, despite the population increasing. Furthermore, you can also see that by January 2010, the unemployment rate assuming labor participation were the same as January 2009 stabilizes at 11%, which has for the past 2.5 years become the new normal.
If Mitt Romney is to win, he needs to continue simplifying his message. The first chart shown here, based on the Obama administration’s original chart, would go a long way to drive home support for his campaign focused on turning around the economy.