If you’re into noting presidential records, here’s a new one to add to your list for Barack Obama. Since 1948, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics started keeping track of the national unemployment rate, no president has ever logged 54 straight months where unemployment was at or above 7.5% — until now. That’s right: With this morning’s BLS report, Obama is able to add another notch to his belt.
The president couldn’t be reached for comment this morning mainly because he was out playing golf again — for the 129th time, though who’s counting? In fairness, he was probably exhausted today following yesterday’s White House Fourth of July barbecue. Besides, it’s not as though any major upheavals were taking place across the globe that might require his attention. Oh, wait…
As for the employment picture, CNS News comments:
In the Obama era, the unemployment rate peaked at 10.0 percent in October 2010. It did not dip below 9 percent until October 2011, when it hit 8.9 percent. From August to September 2012, it dropped from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent—the first time during Obama’s tenure it went under 8 percent.
Prior to Obama’s presidency, the longest stretch of national unemployment at 7.5 percent or higher, as reported by the BLS, was 32 months from September 1981 through April 1984. From August 1981 to September 1981, unemployment climbed from 7.4 percent to 7.6 percent. It then stayed above 7.5 percent until April 1984, when it was at 7.7 percent. In May 1984, it dropped to 7.4 percent.
But all of this was in the cards anyway, right? It’s not as though anyone else could have done a better job, considering Obama inherited the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. Maybe so, although that’s not what Christina Romer, his top economic adviser, said in January 2009, when she predicted that the unemployment rate would stay south of 8 percent if Obama’s proposed stimulus plan was enacted.