Barack Obama is the worst jobs president since the Great Depression.
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The Labor Department said that employers added 200,000 jobs in December, lowering the nation’s unemployment rate to 8.5 percent, its lowest point in nearly three years.
Other data show the economy ended the year with some momentum.
Weekly applications for unemployment benefits have fallen to levels last seen more than three years ago. Holiday sales were solid. And November and December were the strongest months of 2011 for U.S. auto sales.
Many businesses say they are ready to step up hiring in early 2012 after seeing stronger consumer confidence and greater demand for their products.
The rate fell from 9 percent in October to 8.6 percent in November, partly because about 300,000 people gave up looking for work. People routinely enter and leave the work force, though 300,000 is more than usual…
…President Obama could face voters in November with the highest unemployment rate of a sitting president seeking election since World War II. Unemployment was 7.8 percent when Mr. Obama took office in January 2009.
2.5 million Americans are marginally attached to labor force.
About 2.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in
December, little different from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally
adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were
available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months.
They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in
the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
UPDATE: The actual unemployment rate is actually at 10.9% .
Related: James Pethokoukis: What the plunging unemployment rate really means for Obama’s reelection. “Those headline economic numbers are terribly misleading, hardly reflecting the devastation most Americans still see every day. An 8.5 percent unemployment rate? Please. If the size of the U.S. labor force was as large as it was when Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 10.9 percent. But since so many people have gotten discouraged and stopped looking for work– and thus disappeared by government statisticians — the jobless number has been artificially depressed. A better gauge of the jobs picture is the broader U-6 rate, which includes part-timers who would rather have full-time jobs. It stands at a whopping 15.2 percent.”