The stock market fell yesterday in response to the dismal March jobs report, which showed that a meager 88,000 jobs were added, not enough to keep up with America’s population growth or increases in its working-age population. “According to the report, some 496,000 Americans stopped working or looking for work,” noted my LU colleague Howard Portnoy. And as Ed Morrissey pointed out at Hot Air, “The jobs added fall far short of the 125K-150K needed just to keep up with population growth.”
Yet the official “unemployment rate fell another tick, from 7.7 percent to 7.6 percent,” Howard observed. Why? Partly because many people stopped “looking for work.” Why did they stop looking for work? One reason is discouragement with a bad job market. Another reason is that many able-bodied unemployed people, with the encouragement of the Obama administration and some state governments, are going on Social Security Disability, citing maladies such as depression or personality disorders. Once they go on Social Security Disability, they virtually never go off before reaching retirement age. And once they are on disability, they are no longer counted as unemployed in the official unemployment rate. Social Security Disability payments and government healthcare for their recipients now costs taxpayers “around $200 billion per year — more than the budgets of the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Homeland Security, Interior, Justice, and State combined.”
Economists like Mark Zandi and economics columnists like James Pethokoukis have cited Obamacare as the likely culprit behind the recent lousy jobs numbers. Many employers have stopped hiring due to Obamacare, and other businesses are cutting full-time workers and replacing them with part-time workers to avoid Obamacare mandates that apply to full-time employees, note the Huffington Post and Fox News. Obamacare caused layoffs in the medical device industry. Liberal Minnesota Senator Al Franken conceded that the medical-device tax contained in Obamacare will reduce employment. Last year, Franken called it a “job-killing tax” that will “impair American competitiveness in the medical device field.” Obamacare will cut employment by an additional 800,000 because of work disincentives and bizarre income-cliffs.