For all the political splash, pomp and circumstance over the past two weeks as America's two major political parties patted themselves on the back and hobnobbed with celebrities and the like, the jobs numbers that came out Friday should have been a dose of sobering reality.
In the real world, people are hurting.
In August, the U.S. economy added 96,000 jobs. While that's better than none or even contraction, it doesn't keep pace with what's needed just to get new workers on payrolls.
Meanwhile, the unemployment rate dipped a bit to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July, when the economy grew more, though reports Friday showed the federal government's numbers for June and July were too optimistic to start with. The government said Friday that there were actually 41,000 fewer jobs created in those two months than we had been led to believe.
In addition, The Associated Press reported that hourly pay dropped in August as manufacturers cut the most jobs that they have in two years, bringing the work force to its lowest level in three decades.
With all that happening, how does the jobless rate manage to drop by two-tenths of a point?
Simple: The federal government quits counting people who give up trying to find a job in the work force pool. It also doesn't count the ones who never started looking.
Those workers ages 16-24 looking for jobs fell to 54.1 percent of the total number of adult job seekers in the United States, the lowest number in nearly 60 years. Those 55 and older rose from 40.2 percent to 40.4 percent of the work force population as older Americans are finding the idea of slowing down isn't in their best interest these days.
So, what do the newly minted two presidential nominees have to say about all this?
President Obama: “We know it’s not good enough. We need to create more jobs, faster.”
Mitt Romney: “We’re going in the wrong direction.”
Indeed, both are statements of the obvious.
What America needs is some insight as to how either of these two gentlemen intends to fix the problem. Get back to us on that, won't you? Preferably before Nov. 6.
— The Albany Herald Editorial Board