Saturday, February 25, 2012

February's Unemployment

Hopes for an improving economy may be dampened when the February jobless numbers come out in a week or so. The Bureau of Labor Statistics bases it's unemployment number at the end of the month on the situation which obtains in the middle of the month. Gallup is reporting that as of February 15th unemployment stood at 9.0%, up from 8.3% in January.

Underemployment is also up according to Gallup:
Underemployment, a measure that combines the percentage of workers who are unemployed with the percentage working part time but wanting full-time work, is 19.0% in mid-February. This ... is up significantly compared with January's mid-month reading of 18.1%.
Perhaps much of this is due to rising gas prices which are being attributed to "instability" in the Middle East and Libya. If so, it underscores the need to become energy independent, which further underscores the need to exploit petroleum resources close to home and to increase our refinery capacity. The Obama administration, however, despite their rhetoric, is reluctant to proceed in this direction because the longer fossil fuels remain cheap the harder it will be to convince the American people to switch to "green" energy.

Despite his apparent over rising gas prices last week the president is, in fact, not at all averse to higher energy costs, and he and his energy secretary have both said as much (see below).
Mr. Obama's not opposed to having us pay more at the pump. He just doesn't want prices to go up too quickly or to go up now so close to the election when unhappy consumers and the desperate unemployed will be wondering why they should reelect him.