In August 2003, then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued a press statement demanding to know from President Bush, “Where Are the Jobs?” The statement was released in response to the monthly Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report, which, at that time showed that over 400,000 Americans had given up looking for work and had left the labor force. It should be noted that today, every job measurement she cited is worse now than it was in 2003. We must have overlooked her similar question for President Obama.
From Pelosi’s statement:
Washington, D.C. — House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ announcement that 470,000 people abandoned their job searches in July and that 3.2 million private sector jobs have been lost since President Bush took office:
Of course, in December 2009, almost twice as many (929,000) had “abandoned their job searches” on Speaker Pelosi’s watch and with a Democrat in the White House.
“The fact is that President Bush’s misguided economic policies have failed to create jobs. Since President Bush took office, the country has lost 3.2 million jobs, the worst record since President Hoover. And today we learned that in July nearly half a million people gave up looking for a job.
Between January 2001 (132.469 million) and July 2003 (129.864 million), the U.S. actually lost 2.6 million payroll jobs. However, that pales in comparison with the 3.4 million jobs lost since Barack Obama became President (134.333 million in January 2009 versus 130.910 million in December 2009), giving President Obama the “worst record since President Hoover.”
“Job losses are taking a real toll on the financial security of American families. While Democrats are fighting for opportunity, jobs, and economic security for working families, Republicans continue to focus on helping those who need help the least.
“According to today’s survey, while the national unemployment rate dropped slightly, it still stands at a near record high.
Despite the Pelosi’s claim, the 6.2% unemployment rate in July 2003 was nowhere close to a “record high”. In fact, the 6.2% July 2003 unemployment rate wasn’t uncommon at all. Between January 1948 (when official data began) and July 2003, a full 208 out of 667 months (31%) saw an unemployment rate of 6.2% or higher. Unfortunately for today’s workers, the 10% unemployment rate in December 2009 reflects much greater and more exceptional pain – a level reached in only 10 months before this recession (or in 1.4% of all months between 1948 and 2008).
In addition, the unemployment rate for African Americans was still over 11 percent in July, and the unemployment rate for Hispanics was 8.2 percent in July.
The current African American (16.2%) and Hispanic (12.9%) unemployment rates are far higher than the levels in July 2003.
It is time for President Bush and the Republicans to get to work for all Americans, not just the elite few.”
So, exactly whom have President Obama and the Democrats been working for? If President Bush and the Republicans actually were working for ‘just the elite few’ as Pelosi contends, it seems like it might not have been a bad strategy. At the very least, the prospects of finding a job were certainly much brighter.