If you’ve read any economic news lately, you’ve probably been treated to a host of stories touting a “strong” U.S. recovery, really low unemployment, and very little inflation. And, if you’re like most working class Americans, you’ve probably read those stories while shaking your head in disbelief and wondering if the writers are talking about people in another country.
Yes, says the government, the official unemployment rate is about 5.5 percent, the lowest it’s been since the Great Recession. But that government-supplied statistic doesn’t include so-called “missing workers” – those workerswho are no longer in the workforce because they have dropped out in frustration. If they were counted, says the Economic Policy Institute, the real unemployment rate would be 9.0 percent.
And yes, according to the government, there has been some job growth – about 295,000 in February, according to the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. But in order to replace the jobs lost during the Great Recession, that figure would have to be much higher.
As to the government’s line about inflation – namely, that there isn’t much – well, one trip to the grocery store or the gas station or the clothing aisles, even at Walmart, will tell you different. Prices for food, clothing and energy have been rising steadily for years, and none of that has changed just because Barack Obama became president.