President Obama’s economy closed out with the unemployment rate at 4.7%, screamed the latest headline from CNN Money. On surface level, the positive jobs report is a much-needed polisher of the lame-duck administration’s legacy. Key takeaways from the data is that wages “grew a solid 2.9% in December, the best pace since 2009.” Additionally, CNN Money reports that the “underemployment rate, which includes part-time workers who would like to work full time, also fell to 9.2%, its lowest point since 2008.”
It’s not just the solid numbers from the last jobs report of 2016 that will encourage President Obama. The Democrats took a good-sized beating in the general election. The much-reviled Donald Trump unthinkably “stole” the vote away from Hillary Clinton, at least according to leftist logic. As evidence, several Democrats to the end fought a futile battle to deny Donald Trump his rightful victory. With unemployment below the critical 5% threshold, this at least gives President Obama a final parting shot.
Nevertheless, we should make one thing clear. No matter how low the unemployment rate is, no matter how robust the labor market may appear, the jobs report under President Obama is simply a sham.
This becomes evident when we dissect the argument of the leftist mainstream media. For instance, CNN‘s Christine Romans makes the argument that the Obama administration added 11.3 million jobs over his two-terms, which compares very favorably to George W. Bush’s 1.3 million. However, let’s be real — the implications behind this data is due to nothing more than the arbitrary whims of time. If the 2008 global financial collapse would have been delayed for just a few more months, these figures would have been completely flipped.
But we must also consider the larger point that the jobs report itself is a near-sinusoidal pattern. Stated plainly, the unemployment rate has an ebb and flow that seemingly has no correlation with presidential policy. That is, the labor market will grow when the underlying fundamentals justifies its growth — otherwise, political rhetoric only goes so far.
And to be totally fair, President Obama hasn’t really done that remarkable of a job in terms of reducing the unemployment rate. For the current decade, national unemployment stands at just under 7.2%. That’s well off from the 5.65% average during the 1990s and 2000s. Furthermore, it’s light years away from the 4.65% average of the 1950s and 1960s. So let’s take that into perspective before we start crowing Obama as the economic messiah.
In reality, he hasn’t done much. The labor market would have improved anyways because of natural free market dynamics. Instead, President Obama is creating plenty of unnecessary noise, doing whatever he can to disrupt the transition for Donald Trump. That should really be the hallmark of his legacy.