President Obama’s Jobless Recovery….or, America’s Ever-Shrinking Band of Happier (and a lot Wealthier) People

Last month, 58.6{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of working-age Americans were actually working. It must be good times for working folks, right? Guess again: the percentage of working-age Americans actually working has held stagnant since October of ‘09 when it dropped out of the 60{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} range just a couple of months after President Obama was sworn in the first time.

Between January and March of ‘09, the employment ratio dropped from the very low 60s to just above 59{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} as millions joined the ranks of the unemployed. Then it dropped another point just a few months later. In fact, since September of ‘09, the percent of working-age Americans has toggled between 58.7{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} and 58.2{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}. It was as low as 58.5{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} in March of this year.

Thanks to Uncle Sam, you can see the data for yourself at: . The analysis is easy: we’ve been flat-lined for years now.

The president’s often repeated promise of economic recovery just around the corner sounds sort of like Lucy, Charlie Brown and the football.

America’s job woes continue, but our pessimism is shrinking. While the job situation has been abysmal, Americans’ attitudes about the economy are changing. The Michigan Index of Consumer Sentiment is an easy way to gauge the public’s mood. As expected, the average for 2009 was 66.3 – horrible, but four percent better than the year prior; ‘10 was 13{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} over ‘08 (71.8); ‘11 was a bit of a backslide (67.3); while ‘12 was a burst of comparative happiness (76.1 or 19{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} over ‘09); and to date, the average CCI has been comparatively euphoric (78.1 average or 23{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} over the ‘08 low water mark).

While the CCI has been structurally close to historic lows, it is now SIGNIFICANTLY BETTER than it was. And that’s what matters. See:

Why do some Americans now have a sunnier disposition? The stock market for one. While the “recovery” has … uh… stiffed working stiffs, Wall Street and those who are smart enough with fortunes big enough to invest have REALLY done well. 2009 was the low water mark – as anyone with a 401K can vouch – the Dow spent the year at about nine thousand (8,876 average). Since then, it’s been pretty much nothing but rallies, averaging 14,370 for the year so far – or a whopping 38{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} over the ‘09. In fact, four of the Dow’s 20 biggest days in history have been since ‘09.

DOW Yearly Averages

Here’s the clincher though: all this new wealth is going to 20{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} fewer people than before. The number of Americans invested in the market peaked in 2007 (65{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}), but has plummeted since – it’s now at 52{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}.

Rebounding home values are another cause for optimism. The S&P/Case Shiller Index tracks home prices in America’s 20 largest metro areas. The index began measuring home prices in 2006, giving home prices since 2000 a base-line average score of 100, and has tracked the changes since. For example, a current index score value of 150 translates to a 50{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} appreciation rate since January 2000.

In ‘08, with the employment ratio still in the 60s, the index pegged average home values at a score of 166 for the year. As people dropped out of the workforce, home values shrank. By 2011, the average home price index had dropped almost 16{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} to a year-long average of 140. If home values are Americans’ main measurement of wealth, 2011 was the bottom of the barrel.

Like the stock market, however, home values have rebounded significantly since. So far for the year, the S&P/Case Shiller Index has averaged 150 – up seven percent since rock-bottom. But, like the stock market, there are a lot fewer people sharing in the wealth. Home ownership (about 65{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Americans) is at its lowest level in 15 years.

America’s shrinking population of homeowners are nowhere near recovering their lost wealth, but, with home prices on the up, this, along with the steadily rising stock market, has seemed to temper America’s economic pessimism.

And that is all part of “building an economy that works for everyone.”

Similar Articles

  • Impeachment Fever Has Hit House Democrats
    read more

  • Public Opinion Strategies Congratulates Karen Handel on Winning GA-06
    read more

  • The Democrats’ Pivot
    read more

    read more

    read more

Public Opinion Strategies helped us to clarify what we wanted to learn and then conducted research and analysis that shed light even beyond the questions we set out to ask. They were very receptive to our suggestions, responsive to our queries, and flexible when we needed them to be.

Public Opinion Strategies has consistently offered unparalleled advice and spot-on polling that has shaped how and where we spent money and deploy key resources. Additionally, they have always been an excellent steward of limited campaign resources, ensuring we spend wisely and not a dollar more than necessary in order to get the information we need.

Robert Blizzard and Public Opinion Strategies did a great job for us throughout our successful campaign for Congress. Robert gave us accurate data, spot on analysis, and professional advice, all of which were essential to our victory.

Public Opinion Strategies is one of our go-to pollsters when it comes to testing public support for bond ballot measures and other initiative proposals. They are available to provide ongoing consultation with regard to crafting of ballot questions, public outreach messaging, and related efforts.

ACLI has worked with Public Opinion Strategies for decades, through several tough industry battles—often ones in which public opinion does not naturally fall on the side of insurers. Yet Bill and his team consistently provide invaluable strategic advice by refining our messages and helping us frame our issues in a way that makes them understandable and persuasive.

The data from Public Opinion Strategies provided important insight and informed our public awareness campaign. We sincerely appreciate their professionalism and expertise in this arena.

Nicole McCleskey and the team at Public Opinion Strategies have been invaluable to me, both during my campaigns and as Governor of the State of New Mexico. It’s not just the accuracy of their numbers, but guiding the overall strategy that makes them so valuable.

Public Opinion Strategies has been a part of our team in Missouri for more than a decade. With their data and guidance, Republicans here were able to attain a majority in the House in 2002 for the first time in fifty years, and we have been able to grow that majority to the point that we now have a record, veto-proof majority.

In my tenure at two leading business associations, facing huge and complex consumer issues, I have benefitted enormously from the objective advisory skills of Bill and his team. They do their homework, they are rigorous, dispassionate and thoughtful. Turning questions into answers is a clever tag, but it’s also an apt description of the professional talents of the firm.

I consider Public Opinion Strategies to be a part of our team. That is the way we have always worked. They have helped us to understand our needs and fashioned research solutions to meet those needs. They have helped us to meet killer deadlines by being flexible, executing rapidly, and insuring quality. Teamwork is the best way to describe it.

Accuracy, speed, and deep knowledge of key issues and public sentiment are the hallmarks of quality opinion research, and on these measures Public Opinion Strategies consistently delivers. I have had the pleasure of working with Public Opinion Strategies for more than 15 years on dozens of issues, and they are undoubtedly the gold standard.

Public Opinion Strategies’ track record of success and wealth of experience in political campaigns and issue advocacy are why they are one of the most trusted and well respected public opinion firms in Washington, D.C. Their insights and perspectives have helped to inform a wide array of public affairs activities across multiple industries.

Social Media Auto Publish Powered By :