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By the numbers: Obama's state of the union speech, the economy and jobs

Obama delivers state of the union speech Jan. 28, 2014
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Barack Obama delivered his state of the union speech Tuesday evening, launching his sixth year in office. Full of platitudes, short on specifics and reminiscent of prior year’s speeches, the speech seemed to be aimed to the third or so of Americans who still believe Obama to be capable.

The president began his speech citing generic successes, painting a rosy picture of the country’s current status. The reality is much different, however. The economic and jobs numbers draw the reality of what Americans are dealing with in their homes, their businesses and their communities.

As of Jan. 23, 10.4 million Americans remain unemployed. About 13.1 percent of Americans are either unemployed, marginally attached to the workforce or working part-time, a number around 20.55 million people. The labor force participation rate has declined to a 36 year low of 62.8 percent in Dec. 2013 after being 65.7 percent when he became president.

Even the Huffington Post is explaining that “unemployment is falling for all the wrong reasons.” The article explains that “...clearly the falling unemployment rate doesn't tell the full truth about the economy.”

In addition, 721,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since Obama became president, even with his talk of increasing these jobs. The 15 manufacturing hubs he promised in his 2013 state of the union speech have stalled, with Raleigh, NC and Youngstown, OH named as the first two recently. In Tuesday’s speech, Obama said he wanted six hubs in 2014. What happened to the 15 he promised in 2013?

There are 528,000 fewer construction jobs since the beginning of Obama’s presidency, yet he promised in his speech Tuesday to do something about this. He’s had five years and plenty of stimulus money to employ more construction workers, yet more jobs have been lost in these areas that are supposedly so important to him and his agenda.

Unemployed in their prime earning years, 18-34 year olds account for 46 percent of all unemployed Americans. The next generation of leaders and executives are without the jobs they need right now to develop the necessary skills for the future.

Also, the Dec. 2013 unemployment rate for those under 25 was 13.5 percent, those who are supposed to be in the minimum wage jobs obtaining their first few years of job experience. Furthermore, those over 25 with a bachelor degree have seen their median incomes fall by $2,923, in 2012 dollars, just since Obama became president.

When Obama became president in 2009, the average number of weeks someone would be unemployed was 19.8. Now, that number is 37.1 weeks, which is nearly double. Obama cries that unemployment benefits must be extended, as if that is the issue. Even in Tuesday’s speech, he did not offer any specific plans to get those whose unemployment benefits have expired back to work.

A recent article in Bloomberg explained that almost four million Americans have been out of work for more than six months. This is three times the average before this recession. And, for all that Obama promised to do for black people being the first black president, the same article described that one-third of black men are not even in the labor force. This is the highest level since records on this began in 1972.

On Jan. 10, the LA Times reported, “U.S. employers added a measly 74,000 new jobs last month … That was the lowest jobs number in about three years and a major disappointment after a recent string of positive economic signs pointed to stronger growth.” Even POLITICO said that the “jobs report disappoints.”

While some may still blame George W. Bush, Americans are finally realizing that Obama is overseeing this economy. Bloomberg explains the results of a Dec. 2013 poll, citing that “58 percent of Americans disapproved of Obama’s economic stewardship, his worst showing since September 2011. Surveys by the Wall Street Journal/NBC News and Quinnipiac University show similar results.” But, perhaps most interestingly, “...voters now blame “policies of the present” rather than “policies of the past” for their economic problems, a reversal from a year earlier, according to David Winston, a Republican pollster.” While not a majority, a plurality of 49 percent blame current policies versus 41 percent who blame the past.

President Obama can drone on for over one hour about all of his rehashed ideas, many of which he has suggested in previous years and failed to take any action. The evidence shows that Obama’s policies have not worked, have hurt the economy, are killing jobs and are not allowing for the country to improve from the recession.

Obama’s economic plans simply are not working for the nation. The reality of the situation, the reality that all of us face every day, demonstrates clearly the destruction that Obama’s policies have reigned upon the American people. Just as PolitiFact named Obama’s comment “if you like your plan, you can keep your plan” the lie of the year for 2013, so could the vast majority of Tuesday’s speech fall into the category of utter falsehood.

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