Putting America back to work…

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign Donald Trump and his surrogates have painted a bleak picture of the state of America’s economy. They’ve claimed that the recovery has been too slow, incomplete, and unstable. They’ve suggested that we’re heading straight into another recession, or worse, and claimed that only Donald could fix it. We’ve heard that illegal immigrants are stealing our jobs, trade deals are shuttering our factories, and that high taxes are inhibiting the ability for small business owners to grow and be successful.

Yet the reality of the situation is much different than what you hear from Republicans on the campaign trail. In fact, America’s recovery has been more robust, widespread, and durable than the recoveries of most of our allies, and has shown itself to be longer lasting and more prosperous as well. So while many nations of Europe and Asia are slipping backwards and struggling to find solutions for the economic woes plaguing them, the United States remains on a more prosperous road. The following figures suggests that, contrary to what Donald Trump would like you to believe, the U.S. economy is vastly improved from the one President Obama inherited in 2009.

As of November 4th, the unemployment rate across the entire US. stood at 4.9%, which is close to what economists would refer to as full employment for the United States economy. If we go back to the depths of the recession the unemployment rate was more than twice that, reaching a high of 10% in October 2009. To put that into real world numbers, the economy has added 14,571,000 jobs since September 2010, which is the last month the U.S. economy had a net job loss. That marks 73 consecutive months of private sector jobs growth, which makes it the longest period of sustained jobs growth in the history of the United States.

Some critics suggest the unemployment numbers are not accurate because they only include those seeking jobs and not those who have given up on finding work. However, the “real unemployment rate”, which includes those marginally attached to the workforce and the majority of those excluded by the actual employment rate, has also experienced a precipitous drop since the highs it reached in 2009. Since 2009, when the real unemployment rate reached over 16%, it has since fallen closer to 9%. Which means that those who suggest the real unemployment rate is what should be looked at have even less ground to stand on. The real unemployment rate has experienced a 2% larger drop than the actual unemployment rate. This means that people who were out of the labor force have actually rejoined it and found jobs during President Obama’s time in office.

Even more impressive is the recovery that has occurred in Michigan. In June 2009, the unemployment rate reached an astounding 14.9%, one of the highest levels of unemployment across the entire country. Today, the unemployment rate stands at 4.6%, meaning that the unemployment rate has literally been cut by two-thirds.

It would be negligent to not mention that had President Obama not decided to bailout the auto industry the unemployment rate in 2009 would have likely been much higher in Michigan than it peaked and that today it would still be elevated from where it currently stands. Not only did the bailout not end up costing United States taxpayers a dime after the loans were repaid, it has helped usher in a new and recording breaking era of American made car sales. In 2015, U.S. car sales set a record with 17.47 million cars sold.

Yet even with all of this evidence to the contrary you’ll hear Donald Trump talking about the economy being terrible and on the verge of collapse, that we’re shipping our jobs overseas, and forgetting about our jobs here in United States. However, the numbers prove this claim to be fundamentally false. Even in the manufacturing sector, which by the way includes the auto industry, where Donald Trump claims we have been hurt the most by trade policies that favor other countries over our own, there has been a recovery in jobs.

In fact, since 2010, close to a million jobs have been added in the manufacturing sector alone, which accounts for the fastest growth in that sector since the 1990s. While it is true that the recovery in the manufacturing sector has been slower than in other sectors, it has recovered, which is in stark contrast to the picture that Trump paints on the campaign trail. He also fails to take into account the significant impact of large scale advances that have taken place in automation over the past 10 years, which has allowed manufacturers to produce more goods with less hands. Some of those jobs are simply never coming back because of technological advances.

In addition to actual job gains in the market, there has also been a recovery in household income levels as well. In fact, last year households within the United States experienced an average income increase of 5.2%, which marked the largest year over year income increase since at least 1967, when statistics started being kept on household incomes. This means that a household making $60,000 in 2014, had an extra $3,120 in their pockets in 2015, which is no small amount when we’re talking about feeding and caring for our families.

Lastly, it should be noted that small businesses have not suffered nor been hindered by the policies of President Obama. In fact, they have been the very engine that has driven the economic recovery over the past eight years. Of the over 14 millions jobs created since 2009, 74% of those jobs have been created by small businesses employing less than 500 people. So while Republicans and Donald Trump like to claim that President Obama’s policies have failed small businesses, they have actually done the exact opposite. The policies and incentives offered over the past 8 years to small businesses have helped to power the longest lasting stretch of job creation, and more specifically, small business job creation, in the history of the United States.

Therefore it should be pretty clear that the rhetoric does not meet reality. The American economy is not a disaster, or on the verge of collapse, nor is it in need of a dramatic shift in direction. While it can be argued that until last year wage growth moved too slow, it has at least moved in the right direction. Are there things that can be improved and adjustments that can be made to help continue and accelerate the job growth and economic recovery that President Obama has presided over? Yes, absolutely, but we’re talking about adjustments under Hillary Clinton, not blowing up the entire system under Trump and returning to the failed economic policies of years past.

The fact is, the policies and initiatives President Obama enacted worked. Targeted tax breaks helped put money in the pockets of the average American who could then help generate economic activity and growth through their own increased purchasing power. Tax breaks afforded small businesses the ability to recover, hire new employees, and grow at a faster rate than the previous eight years. The auto bailout helped save the auto industry, forced companies to cut waste, streamline production, and produce better products to compete and win the market back over. Tax increases on the wealthy forced them to pay a fairer share on their fortunes, yielding increased tax revenues that were reinvested in the economy in the form of public works projects, grants and job creating loans. The policies worked, and with Hillary Clinton promising to continue and improve upon them, you better believe that I’m with her.

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