President Obama’s One-Year Score Card On Jobs

We just passed the one-year mark for President Obama’s administration. My key question to you: is the jobs market better off or worse off as a result of what he has done? I believe the answer is clear: we are worse off! December marked the third straight month of 10%+ national unemployment. The last time that occurred was June of 1983, when we had ten straight months of 10%+ unemployment.

Obama signed a $787 billion stimulus bill into law just weeks after taking office. He says it has saved jobs and staved off an even deeper recession. I do not believe so. History tells us that small businesses actually create jobs. Not the big programs for big companies that this administration has rolled out. In fact, research from the Small Business Administration (SBA) confirms that almost 64% of the net new jobs over the last 15 years were created by small businesses. Unfortunately, very little of the stimulus money was targeted towards small businesses.

Last week I visited two growing, smaller companies that are rolling out several new electronics products. Both want to quickly recruit several new employees. Unfortunately, this administration has done little to assist them. In fact both are worried that some of the costly programs like healthcare may even slow down their jobs creation efforts by saddling them with a lot of extra costs and layers of regulation!

Furthermore, both companies provide products and services for the industrial machinery field. Because these machines are becoming more complex, both need increasingly better educated workers including on their sales and marketing staff.  This requires our educational system to improve dramatically especially in the areas of math, science and engineering. This is another area that this administration has paid a lot of lip service to, but has not delivered much in the way of benefits.

Maybe a referendum was delivered yesterday in Massachusetts when Scott Brown became the first Republican Senator elected to that state since 1972.  It is a sign to the administration that more needs to be done to help the real engine for jobs growth, small businesses!

19 Responses

  1. The growth owing to Obama stimulus package is dismal. How does one ignore the SBA statistics pertaining to small business? Furthermore if the 10% unemployment statistic is accurate, and I don’t beleive that it is, I’d like to see the statistic for those who were previously earning in the upper 10% of all wage earners, particularly for the over fifty crowd. This group has been decimated.

  2. -3,000,000 +/-. The ‘stimulus’ was a payoff. By far the vast majority, if not nearly all the stimulus money spent in ’09 went to states and local governments to retain government and or unionized employees (a fact!). I know one local government that has a staff of nearly 50 people in their planning and zoning/ building department. They depend on permit fees and the like for funding. Limited permits and fees in ’09 should have meant massive layoffs for idle workers. Instead stimulus money trickled down to keep workers who run around justifying their job harrasing citizens. If they had called the ‘stimulus’ bill the government workers retention act it probably would have failed. Obama is an empty suit looking for a person to fill it.

  3. While we cannot deny the dismal stimulus package as a factor, it is not the only dismal thing going on – lies, corruption and greed, human indifference, games people play. We all know what it’s like to inherit someone elses stuff. Bush was only too eager to pass the baton looking stressed and exhausted. Everyone has a part in this dismality- it’s easy to blame others and point one finger the other way, but there’s 4 more pointing back at us.

    We as individuals have to figure out how to reinvent ourselves – that is retool, repackage to find that next opportunity (it’s out there), we need to be able to ‘see the future’ at a reasonable view – contract or full time permanent (whatever this means today) I have to think of myself as – running an MyPB company – MY PERSONAL BUSINESS and not just another employee working for xyz company. Companies innovate, restructure, downsize. if we tout innovation on our resumes as a skill we bring to the table for companies, we should do it for ourselves too.

    No doubt there’s a lot of desperation, fear and worry from a lot of people . Question is what are we willing to do to change our situation. if we were not afraid, what would we do? As the saying goes, what would Jesus do?- If you want to walk on water you’ve got to get out of the boat…..

  4. This president doesn’t have a clue how to create private sector jobs because he doen’t have any experience in the private sector. The current policies from this administration will only create government jobs and waste a lot of money. The best way to turn our economy around would be:

    Lower tax rates on individuals and domestic small businesses.
    Cut the government workforce and overall spending by 15% or more.
    Give tax incentives to large corporations who transfer jobs from overseas operations back to the USA and penalize those who do not.
    Get the EPA under control and start developing a lot more domestic energy of all types.

    Just my opinion on how to increase the amount of good jobs in the USA.

  5. The better question is how many jobs were saved. A lot, although you apparently don’t agree. The stimulus package was only one part and most of those funds haven’t even been spent yet or trickled down to significantly expand the money supply. The fiscal policies enacted with the other industrial nations, which was just as big a part of the plan, averted a global disaster that would have made our present unemployment rate a dream.

    The economy was on the verge of collapse. The infusion of capital and purchase of bad debt stabilized what would have been a free fall for home owners and small businesses alike. Pulling out individual statistics instead of looking at the big picture and how everything interacts is a bit misleading. Yes small business adds most of the head count. That’s because large business is streamlining to compete against global competition. Job growth and productivity growth don’t always go hand in hand.

    And without money funneling to state and local governments which are responsible for more and more services, as a previous contributor complained about, taxes would have to increase. That leaves less money to spend on products and services from small business, of which most supply local consumers.

    Maintaining capital liquidity, stabilizing lending institutions, and global fiscal cooperation maintained our foundation. Had that cracked, the rest would have come tumbling down much worse than it has. Some of the other comments are accurate as longer term goals. We didn’t have the time to wait.

  6. Scott,

    You are welcome for the survey feedback. I hope our replies will help your efforts and in turn, help us! As a job search trainer for Illinois WorkNet, I’ve seen firsthand the number of talented and experienced professionals that lack gainful employment. Many of us are reaching a point of desperation and have exhausted our savings; the administration’s efforts to bolster this great nation’s real and permanent employment number have fallen well short of intended goals.

    Further, for those of us with children still in grade and high school at home, we are not only stressed by the need to feed, shelter, and clothe them, but also to provide a positive model for their futures.

    Thank you for your efforts in bringing these issues into the open and raising awareness of the struggle faced by “main street” America.


    Dion S

  7. Every president begins with a legacy from the former president, the good and the bad. The economy was bad, and this administration has made it worse by their own measures. Whatever they inherited, they also predicted what their policies would do:

    –2009 and 1010 GDP growth (I forget the exact figures, but they didn’t produce them)

    –they said their stimulus and other measures would hold unemployment below 10%. Their figures show they goofed by a factor of 25%

    So whatever burden they inherited, they nevertheless set out what they would do to fix it. On their own scorecard they are failing. They now propose an added dose of those failing policies.

    Whether it’s relevant we can only speculate, but it’s worth noting that we have never had an administration with so few top level people without any hands-on experience in business or with so many lawyers holding top spots. The director of Management and Budget is an academic economist who lists no business experience. His deputy is an academic specialist in government and political science. The president’s economic adviser, Larry Summers, also without business experience, forced the Harvard endowment to adopt high risk investments in derivatives, a policy that helped create a loss of some $1.8 billion. People criticized Bush for having too many business people. Clinton, we note, had as director of OMB, Duke graduate and accomplished businessman, John Koskinen.

  8. The root cause of job loss in America is our huge trade imbalance. We won’t see a resurgence of good jobs in this country until we rationalize our trade policy so as to bring manufacturing back, even if it means a protectionist industrial policy. Free trade has not benefitted this country. It’s benefitted consumers at the point of purchase, but, long term, it has hurt those consumers even more because it destroyed the economic foundation upon which their livelihoods depend. It was a Faustian bargain from the beginning.

    Most of the new jobs being generated (and there aren’t that many of them) are illusory because they are a product of a bubble being created by terrifyingly high deficit spending. If you infuse an economy with $1.5 trillion of borrowed money, you’re bound to see a bump in employment, but those jobs will disappear as soon as the money dries up. After those fake jobs dry up, we’ll have an even greater debt burden weighing us down because we borrowed money to make fake jobs before an election, rather than build an environment for real job creation.

    To fix America, we need to reduce the budget deficit through massively reduced spending (not higher taxes), we need to reduce the trade deficit and bring manufacturing back to this country through whatever means necessary, taxes need to be brought down and simplified, American primary & secondary educational system needs to be made world class and we need to rebuild our infrastructure.

    People needs to understand that the free ride is over. The chickens have come home to roost and we need to spend the next 25 year cleaning up the post-party mess.


  9. Governments create neither wealth nor wealth-producing jobs that have overall benefit to the economy. Governments are net consumers of wealth. Classical economics teaches the three wealth-creating engines: mining, manufacturing, and agriculture. Businesses engaged in or servicing these activities create economy-wide wealth and the jobs necessary to feed the government wealth-consuming machine. Governments can only create the conditions under which these businesses thrive or not. Nothing this government has done has encouraged businesses or enabled existing ones to be more successful. The “stimulus package” was a spending bill whose impact has been minimal, has mostly benefited the privileged few on the administration payroll, and has created, through the monetization of the largest deficit in the history of the world, an inflation bubble (and therefore a vast consumption of wealth) that will burst in 2-3 years with double-digit inflation. Report Card grade: F

  10. Look at the economy when presidents have handed over to the other party the reigns, When Clinton was handed the reigns by Bush senior, Check the interest rate and the job creation rate, Not to be outdone, check the same for when Clinton and her Husband were booted out of office, check the economy and the job creation, then the same thing happened only worse for Obama, the politicians have been playing with us like political toys. Lower Job growth give money to my friends pardon all the corrupt and tax cheats, then give a dismal picture over to the next in line and see if they can fix my mess. Democrats and Repulicans alike.
    When Russia Defaulted on all their loans during the Reagan years and we had to rescue the savings and loans in the US by paying the interest on Russian loans for 20 years for the banks to be able to write off the bad debt. Hillary made all her contacts in New york Lawyering for those same savings and loans. Now when she is next to the most powerful person in the Whitehouse, again she is there having to work with the same situation. Yes the goverment is bailing out Banks again that made loans based on collateral that was not obtainable and or worth much less than the loan amount. But this time China is holding our Debt Note, not us holding Russia’s, the way I see it China just didn’t learn anything from American History in dealing with Russia, and america didn’t learn anything from dealing with banks. Regulate the money out of the banks, make it unprofitable to be the head of a bank, make the Management of a pank salary proportional to the lowest paids person salary, like 30 times the lowest paid persons salary, so if they want a raise they have to give the lowest paid people in the company a raise first. The CEO’s that can work for only a dollar in a year, does that mean they have been overpaid for so long that they don’t even need to be paid for a year and they can still survive, while the common american hopes to be able to afford being layed off and not have unemployment expire on them, Why are we not taxing everyone on the amount they make to make social security solvent, not just up to a set monetary limit value. Look If your earning a 6 figure salary I don’t have a problem, as long as you have looked also to the well being of the people who look to you everyday in the hopes that they will always have a job to come to.

  11. Unemployment rate got much worse than Obama’s target for ROI on the government stimulus. The rate would be much higher if there weren’t 100,000s who are no longer officially counted because they’ve stopped looking for work or aren’t receiving unemployment. The growth of new jobs is tepid, at best. No one projects much growth here for quite awhile. Tax cuts to stimulate business growth has the only proven track record to grow the economy and increase job growth. Report card: This student should be expelled and sent to remedial school!

  12. I heard your interview on the WGN radio. Good job, it was a good interview and I totally agree with your perspective. As far as job creation, I just don’t see it, it unfortunately is the opposite. I have seen many Manufacturers move down the process just to cancel it in the end. Just before Xmas, I was a final two candidate for a VP of Sales position that they wanted to upgrade, in the end, they decided not to upgrade and cancelled the new hire position. Many, many Manufacturers are just sitting on their hands and have been since they have made their massive labor cut-backs.

    As well, the market tanking Thursday and Friday was in total response to Obama’s new Banking policy. Again, restrictions will inhibit the entrepreneurial spirit. And talent will move to where they feel they can operate without caps. Sure, I was pissed too about the massive bonuses in the Banking industry, but the only reason I or anyone was pissed is because we gave them the money to survive. Had we not done that, if they can make high-figure bonuses because they perform and are rewarded, more power to them. The Banks want the best talent, that is what competition is. Competition is good.

  13. Just a couple of questions: If low tax rates, a health care system controlled only by market forces and a hands off policy with regards to financial regulation are the answer; how did we get where we are today? No one could be so naive to think that O’bama has crashed our educational system which has been declining since the 80’s. No one could be so naive to think that the economic disaster announced by the previous administration was going to rectify itself in less than a year. Let’s try and remember that it took THEM more than a year to even figure out if we were in a recession. Frankly, I doubt it’s even possible to know what effect the stimulus package has had on the economy, whatever it is, it’s not sufficient, but let’s not ignore reality in order to push a particular and personal agenda.

  14. The Obamination gets a big fat F from me across the board.

    Weak on the economy, weak on national security, weak on jobs, weak on energy policy, weak on foreign policy, weak on domestic policy. Basically, this dud is just another Jimmy Carter (uber-Liberal-Progressive) only worse. Not only has he not done anything about companies leaving the United States en-masse, he has sped up the process. He, along with union bosses (stinking rats leaving a sinking ship) has gone after every industry that was left in the country. Decimated the auto industry, destroyed housing and construction, military cutbacks, insurance, banking, and soon they will go after the energy producers.

    As Obama said himself, “under my plan, energy prices will skyrocket”.

    Yeah, that’s just what we all need in this economy, exploding electric and gas bills to go on top of exploding unemployment and soon, exploding inflation because of all the spending!

    His minions (Axelrod, Gibbs, Jarrett) went on the Sunday “Obama is so awesome” talk shows to prop up his recent failures and they couldn’t even get their story correct. Was it 1000’s, 1.5 Million or more than 2 Million jobs “saved or created” you butt-kissers? Well the truth is, this abomination has LOST another 4 million jobs in record time and his excuse is ALWAYS the same. Uh… I inherited it from Bush!

    Quit making excuses! Can you do the job or not!?!

    Obama said he was going to do something about these unfair trade policies (NAFTA and WTO), end all the corruption in Washington, and bring transparency to the Congress during the campaign but I have yet to see any “change”, have you? Business as usual, only MUCH more partisan. Oh, BTW – Obama said unemployment would NOT go above 8% if the stimulus was passed. If you count people who have been unemployed for more than a year, and those that took multiple part time or low wage jobs just to make ends meet, the REAL unemployment number is between 17-18% rapidly approaching great depression level.

    Finally, Tomorrow night we are going to hear the same old about how it’s not his or the Liberal’s fault, that it was all those evil Republicans and capitalists. Oh no… It’s NEVER about you Barry. Look for the following talking points:

    “Let me be clear”
    “Make no mistake”
    “Back from the brink”
    “Signs of recovery”
    “Restored our reputation”
    “Fiscal restraint”
    “Greed on Wall Street”
    “Affordable health care”
    “Relief for working families”
    “Job creation”
    “Inherited” as in “I inherited this mess”

    Basically Obama sucks, we should NEVER have allowed such an inexperienced ideologue into the White House and he will go down as the worst, most divisive, socialist President in history after his one term is up alongside Woodrow Wilson and Jimmy Carter.

    Well John, I wish it was a simple as “am I better off than two years ago”…

    I am now in the 4th month of un-employment after 13 years of continuous employment with Motorola and over 25 years with other employers.

    My retirement plan is screwed, and my son’s education funds have been decimated.

    I spent six years on active duty in the US Army during the 80’s and during Desert Storm and I cannot see how we could put a weaker face on American military and diplomatic strength than what this guy (and Hitlery) has done.

    America has become a joke under the Lib-tards in Washington..

    The answer John… Is HELL NO!

  15. There is not a single poll taken in Massachusetts that shows Brown’s election as a referendum on Obama. Remember that MA already has universal health care coverage so this health care bill doesn’t affect them nearly as much as the rest of the country. Also remember that any MA Republican would be called a Democrat in another part of the country.
    Instead, it was the result of a candidate acting like an incumbent. Scott worked hard, Martha didn’t thinking a Democrat HAS to win MA.

    I give Obama a rating of a B-. When 40% of Congress refuses to do anything and the other 60% acts like they aren’t the super majority, I blame Congress, not Obama. He actually has done a lot in 1 year, more so than most Presidents. Whether you liked TARP, Cash for Clunkers, etc is an idelogical question. But it is impressive he was able to get that much done when the “Party of No” fought every step of the way.

  16. My experience is that Obama has made a mess of the economy and American jobs and people have suffered from it. I’ve been unemployed for 4 months and recruiters all have said the same thing-that my experience, skills and qualifications are great, but nobody is hiring. I can’t even get a job at Home Depot because I’m overqualified.

    Obama cannot continue to blame Bush(2) because Clinton was more than happy to take credit for the recovering economic situation he inherited from Reagan/Bush(1) and ride that for 8 years.

    JackB, stop drinking the Obama koolaid. It’s not enough to simply have good “sound bites” on the news. I’ve invested too much time and effort in my education and field to simply start over with the entry level jobs that Obama is proposing.

    Obama lacks the fundamental understanding that middle Americans have had to live with all along. That is, stop spending what you don’t have on what you don’t need until you’ve saved up for it. He just doesn’t get it.

  17. A completely overlooked aspect of the governments (administrations) role in “job creation” is their authorization of foreign workers who LEGALLY enter the United States for employment. Such authorizations translate into workers who may displace U.S. citizens in the employment realm. The Information Technology field is an example of this occurrence. When large corporations employ H1 Visa holders by the hundreds, qualified U.S. workers remain unemployed.

    It would be useful to learn how many outstanding work authorization visas exist. It would also be interesting to learn if these are growing, shrinking, or remaining the same.

    There are likely many perspectives on why the U.S. started such authorizations, as well as opinions about retaining the status quo. However, I believe this is exactly the type of policy the administration needs to re-evaluate in light of the current unemployment rate.

  18. I want to preface this by saying I used to be a loyal republican, but George Bush was such an idiot and McCain looked set to follow in his mediocre footsteps when he selected Palin so with a gun to my head I voted for Obama. I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, I wanted our new president to be successful. However his priorities were all wrong they saved the financial system which was good, but then they were immobilized by Healthcare. As many have said the stimulus plan was stimulus in name only. The core problem here is that republicans are supposed to be good at business stuff, but the timing of the bailout and McCains horrible presidential run meant the dems were running the show when the economy needed saving. Is it really surprising they decided to payback some loyalists while they were saving the fatcat bankers? This is about as good as you can expect Keynesian economics to work in a democracy.

  19. Obama gets a D at best… but he left driving his agenda to others in congress whom we know are generally clueless as to the real word outside of the beltway and his buddy Rahm “Ramrod” Emmanuel.. had he been front and center from the get go there may have been more progress on a lot of fronts..after all, did he not have a mandate..? but he was not going to do that for fear of making himself look bad per his inexperience in leading and driving anything meaningful…see healthcare… Chris Popp makes legitimate remarks, but I maintain the system needed a bigger meltdown than what we got… to bleed us from the toxicity that is Wall St demanding the restructruing/downsizing of companies to improve bottom lines and CEO/Boards of Directors offices bending over in compliance… there are many who will say the economy could not possibly be any worse for them than what it is.. unemployed, broke and no prospects for the future..I think many would have liked that pain to be shared by Wall St and exec suites acrosss the nation.. but they were spared by the “bailout”…. suggest we need to bring jobs back home and be less concerned about maximizing shareholder return and be content with higher employement and reasonable shareholder return..

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