The unemployment rate, if used as a single statistic to assess the status of employment in the United States, obscures facts relevant to the labor market. The following statements were derived from data available at the website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
When President Obama took office in January 2009, the United States unemployment rate was 7.6 percent, the number of workers employed or looking for work was 153,715,000 out of a potential work force of 234,739,000 (participation rate of 65.5 percent), and the number of unemployed workers who were actively seeking employment was 11,616,000. As of August 2012, the unemployment rate was 8.1 percent, the number of workers employed or looking for work was 154,645,000 out of a potential workforce of 243,566,000 (participation rate of 63.5 percent, the lowest since September 1981), and the number of unemployed workers who were actively seeking employment had increased by 928,000 to 12,544,000.
The number of employed workers was static at about 142,100,000 while the potential work force (non-institutionalized adult 16 years of age or older), increased from about 235 million to 244 million.
In short, during the three years and seven months of the Obama presidency, the number of unemployed workers and the number of potential workers who have stopped looking for work (no longer participating) have increased significantly. There was no net job creation despite the fact that the potential workforce increased.
Bureau of Labor Statistics figures and statistics are there for all the world to examine. Draw your own conclusions. For me, the data indicate that our country would benefit from having a president who understands basic economic principles and has experience running a large business.