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The Obama economy

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Tuesday, April 9, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Seemingly good news — March's unemployment rate falling to 7.6 percent from February's 7.7 percent — is actually bad news when a fuller picture of the economy is considered. Unemployment fell only because so many Americans gave up on finding jobs — another sign of how anemic the recovery remains.

The Obama administration hopes to bury grim economic reality under its feel-good focus on that 0.1-percentage point dip in joblessness. But factor in those who've quit looking for work or can find only part-time jobs, and 7.6 percent unemployment is actually 13.8 percent unemployment, as economist Peter Morici of the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business points out.

That's why the labor force participation rate fell from 63.5 percent in February — “already one of the lowest in decades,” notes economist Jake Haulk, president of the Allegheny Institute for Public Policy — to 63.3 percent in March. He also notes that the labor force was 496,000 Americans smaller last month, while the number employed fell by 206,000.

Mr. Haulk cites January's tax hikes, ObamaCare's effects and the bite of ever-increasing regulations for holding back the economy and job creation. Mr. Morici also sees an increasing mismatch between the jobs for which too many high school and college graduates are suited and available jobs that pay well.

What's certain, though, is that Obama administration policies aren't working for too many Americans who've lacked jobs for far too long.

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