To the millions of Americans unable to find work, to college graduates who can’t get a job and are living with their parents, to the underemployed who are working at jobs far below their skill set and experience, and to those who have given up looking for work altogether, a 7.8 percent unemployment rate is meaningless. The economy stinks.
And try as they might — and they are trying mightily to rescue a man they sold to voters four years ago as a political messiah — major media can’t seem to transform a failing president into a success.
“Fall in jobless rate strips Romney of an argument” was the gleeful headline in the Washington Post recently. No it doesn’t. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, tweeted about the 7.8 percent unemployment number, down from 8.1 percent: “Unbelievable jobs numbers. These Chicago guys will do anything … can’t debate, so change numbers.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics stands by its calculations. On Fox News, economic journalist Stuart Varney admitted to being a little skeptical. “There is widespread distrust of this report,” he said. Does one have to be the economic equivalent of a “birther” or “truther” to question the timing of unemployment numbers below 8 percent, especially so close to an election?
Far more ominous is the rapid rise in gasoline prices in California; “40.3 cents more than a week ago,” according to figures from AAA and the Oil Price Information Service. The price is nearing $6 a gallon for premium and above $5 for other grades at some pumps.