Yesterday, White House spokesmouth Jay Carney made yet another claim concerning how grrrrrrreat the economy is compared when President Barack Obama took office (bold is mine):
The economy is vastly improved from what it was when Barack Obama was sworn into office as president.
To no one's surprise, this howler was not considered news at the Associated Press. No article found in a search at the AP's main site on Carney's last name refers to the above quote.
To be "vastly improved," the economy's numbers have to be irrefutably better than they were 29 months ago.
- The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in January 2009 was 7.8%. As of June 2011, it was 9.2%.
- The seasonally adjusted number of unemployed in January 2009 was 11.984 million. As of June 2011, it was 14.087 million, which doesn't include millions of others who have dropped out of the workforce or who are working part-time though they'd prefer not to.
- The seasonally adjusted number of people employed was 133.563 million according to the survey of employers in January 2009. As of June 2011, it was 131.017 million.
- On the economic growth side, as shown here, if the economy grew by an annualized 2% in the second quarter of this year, cumulative growth since the fourth quarter of 2008 will have been just shy of 4%, and per-capita growth would have been about 2%, or a barely noticeable average of 0.2% per quarter over ten quarters. Trouble is, Goldman Sachs just trimmed their second-quarter growth estimate to 1.5%. Goldman also wrote last Friday evening that a return to recession is "clearly a possibility given the recent numbers." Some "improvement," Jay.
- Some, including Jeff Reeves at MarketWatch, are predicting that the unemployment rate could reach 10%
Carney's unexcerpted claim that the economy was in free-fall at the end of 2008 is also questionable. The better characterization is that the economy was showing very early signs of recovery in December of 2008 until the heavyhanded goverment stimulus, auto company takeovers, and their accompanying lawlessness permanently (or at least for as long as this administration is around) established what I have called the Fear-Based Economy. As long as entrepreneurs, businesspeople and investors operate out of fright instead of a desire to capitalize on opportunities, we're not going to see "vast improvements."
The only thing which is "vastly improved" in this economy is the government's regulatory grip on it.
If such a statement such as Carney's in similar circumstances were made by a spokesman for a Republican or conservative administration, the Associated Press would be obsessed with it, and the establishment media's broadcast outlets would be making it their lead stories.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.