The Obama Economy: Labor Market Recovery Is The Best In 25 Years

Obama Mount Rushmore


Hale Stewart: The Recovery In The Labor Market Is The Best In 25 Years

Every month we read stories about what a poor labor market recovery this has been. The latest articles were from Profs. Brad DeLong and Menzie Chinn. I respectfully disagree. With few exceptions, people don’t get a job for social reasons. They go to work each day in order to earn money to purchase necessities, discretionary goods, and to save for future needs. In short, they work because of cold, hard cash. Next, let’s compare two economies that both create 1 million 40 hour a week jobs, but one pays $10/hour and the other pays $12/hour. Clearly the second economy is better. It is paying workers 20% more than the first.

Finally, let’s compare two economies that create 1 million 40 hour a week jobs at $10/hour. In the first economy, there are 3% annual raises, but inflation is rising 4%. In the second, there are 2% annual raises, but inflation is rising 1%. Again, even though the second economy is giving less raises, it is the better one — those workers are seeing their lot improve in real, inflation-adjusted terms, whereas the workers in the first economy are actually losing ground. In other words, the best measure of a labor market recovery is that economy which doles out the biggest increase in real aggregate wages. The bottom line is that, measured 5 years and 11 months out from the bottom, this labor market recovery has been the third best of the 7 expansions, behind the 1960s and 1980s

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111 Responses to “The Obama Economy: Labor Market Recovery Is The Best In 25 Years”

  1. July 7, 2015 at 2:09 pm

    I see Iowa City is trending on Twitter – apparently HRC is speaking only blocks from me, right now. Now if it had been PBO, I would’ve been one of those in the endless lines that always form for him. For HRC, that’s nice – but I’ll check it out on the news. Interesting to hear that this is “the heart of Bernie Sanders country”. WTF – they wish. http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/07/politics/hillary-clinton-iowa-first-interview/index.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+rss%2Fcnn_latest+%28RSS%3A+CNN+-+Most+Recent%29

    • 2 sabreen60
      July 7, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      Congrats muscatinegal! And Good afternoon/evening Ms. Chips, NW and all TODers!

      I understand from Twitter, that Bernie said PBO is NOT telling the truth (lying) about unemployment numbers. He’s attacking PBO and thinks the President’s supporters will vote for him? He’s pandering to the white emoprogs and firebaggers who hate President Obama. ugh

  2. July 7, 2015 at 2:17 pm

  3. 9 GGail
    July 7, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Congrats muscatinegal on First!

    I wouldn’t be in a line for HRC right now either.

    Hey NW, nice placement of PBO on the monument 🙂

  4. July 7, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks a traaaaaaaaaaazillion, Nerdy!!!

  5. July 7, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    GGail you are so wrong, he does no belong on Mt. Rushmore. Our POTUS deserve a mountain of his own. 🙂

  6. July 7, 2015 at 2:41 pm

    This is happening right now at LA LIVE. So PROUD of our girls!

    • 18 GGail
      July 7, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      I’m happy for them, & so proud that they won, but how/why are they here in LA?

      I was on a cruise ship on Sunday and missed the whole game, so I’m clueless. Bring me up to date please 🙂

      • July 7, 2015 at 2:57 pm

        The game was in Vancouver. They arrived here last night, likely because LAX is a bigger hub to all their final home destinations than YVR.

        As for the GAME…

        First goal was in the THIRD min, by Carli Lloyd.
        She scored again TWO minutes later.
        #3 was by Holiday at min 14.
        Carli Lloyd had her hat trick by Min 16 – from FIFTY FOUR YARDS AWAY FROM THE GOAL (David Beckham says hi.)
        Then Heath scored in min 54.


        • 20 GGail
          July 7, 2015 at 3:00 pm

          Tally – you’re an angel! Thanks ❤

        • July 7, 2015 at 4:36 pm

          Thank you, Tally, for this nice summary of the game.

          I have been watching male soccer since the mid-sixties in Europe. This was an absolutely fantastic game.

          The speed and technical prowess of both teams are a testament to female soccer (in ’95 I watched local soccer games separated by gender; the men’s games were much faster than the women’s – in fact, the only female to be the equal or better than the men in speed was a former Olympic contender (1980), Sylvia Barlag, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvia_Barlag).

          Carli’s third goal was a bit of luck, of course – but if you view dozens of trials of mid-line shots on goal, you see this one follows a pattern: the goalie comes out because every approaching is far out, and then has to back up to the goal, running backwards, looking at the ball. This fails almost always (although that doesn’t necessarily mean the ball ends up in the goal).

          Good that Japan didn’t give up when they were 0-4 behind !

          • July 7, 2015 at 5:46 pm

            Indeed. I’ve been an LA Galaxy season ticket holder since 2003. 😀 😀 😀 Hot men running for 90min with no commercials. LOVE IT. Love that our women are WORLD CHAMPS!!!

  7. 25 Judith Fardig
    July 7, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    Congrats to Muscatinegal. Bernie learned nothing from the last 2 midterm elections about how progressives/Democrats LOST when they ran away from President Obama.

    See if this works. Trying to follow AMK’s instructions…

  8. July 7, 2015 at 2:56 pm

    • 38 Don
      July 7, 2015 at 3:04 pm

      Talk to me bob.

      • July 7, 2015 at 3:21 pm

        Hi Don … regret not being very social, but I’m just jumping in with tidbits as I have a spare moment … 2 things for sure … PBO ain’t ‘rushing into any deal with Iran’ and it’s obvious everyone wants a deal to happen given that I’ve never seen diplomacy this intense and sustained and sane, ever …. bbl ….

      • 40 Vicki
        July 7, 2015 at 3:28 pm

        I’ll talk to you, Don. Not as good as Bob for sure, but I am with you in the tension building as we wait.

  9. 41 vcprezofan2
    July 7, 2015 at 3:16 pm


    WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of the two-year anniversary of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today released a report revealing that national park infrastructure and historic and cultural resources totalling more than $40 billion are at high risk of damage from sea-level rise caused by climate change. The report was conducted by scientists from the National Park Service and Western Carolina University and is based on an examination of 40 parks – about one-third of those considered threatened by sea-level rise – and the survey is on-going.

    “Climate change is visible at national parks across the country, but this report underscores the economic importance of cutting carbon pollution and making public lands more resilient to its dangerous impacts,” said Secretary Jewell. “Through sound science and collaboration, we will use this research to help protect some of America’s most iconic places – from the Statue of Liberty to Golden Gate and from the Redwoods to Cape Hatteras – that are at risk from climate change.”


  10. July 7, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    I need a new gig.

  11. 43 Vicki
    July 7, 2015 at 3:26 pm

    Nerdy—-Thank you for highlighting our economy’s Amazing recovery!!! Thanks to PBO.

    An economic site I frequent has been detailing all kinds of rising numbers that support the “things are getting better” view.
    Hotel occupancy rates are up. Bernie might say that it doesn’t matter because only rich people stay in hotels but that is a narrow reading. A bustling economy with various rates rising widely benefits all of us to some degree. More folks working, more stores thriving to provide for workers and their families. The virtuous circle.

    The same Obama-bashers who want to make believe that the unemployment and job numbers don’t mean what they actually do mean, are some of the same people who want War Profits to be the only measure.

  12. July 7, 2015 at 3:32 pm

  13. 48 vcprezofan2
    July 7, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Molly Wolfe
    July 07, 2015
    02:05 PM EDT

    Before the Dam could be built the Colorado River had to be diverted through tunnels. This piece of equipment, named a Jumbo Rig, was designed to speed up the tunnel drilling process. Built on the back of a 10-ton truck, 24 to 30 drills could be operated at once. (Department of Interior Bureau of Reclamation)

    On July 7, 1930, construction began on the Hoover Dam. President Herbert Hoover was deeply devoted to protecting the environment, particularly focusing on pollution-free water, flood control, and fisheries. After a disastrous Mississippi River flood in 1927, Hoover recommitted to bettering American infrastructure to prevent another catastrophe.

    “[Hoover] Dam will probably be the biggest dam, perhaps the biggest man-made thing in the whole wide world.”

    — Fortune Magazine, September 1933


    Hoover Dam was completed two years ahead of schedule and millions of dollars under budget. Over the years, investment in our nation’s infrastructure has fallen on the backburner, despite its importance for American citizens and our economy. The President has a plan to fix that, by reforming our programs and increasing funding to support our growing population and millions of jobs. It’s time to rebuild America.

    President Barack Obama views the Hoover Dam during a stop at the 1,900-foot long structure which spans the Colorado River at the Arizona-Nevada border, Oct. 2, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

    ……………………………………… //


    July 7, 2015 at 4:10 pm


  15. 55 vcprezofan2
    July 7, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    JULY 7th, 1964

    Five Days After Enactment of Civil Rights Act, Black Teens Beaten for Ordering at Segregated Lunch Counter in Bessemer, Alabama

    On July 7, 1964, nine black teenaged boys entered McLellan’s, a department store in downtown Bessemer, Alabama, that had a segregated lunch counter. Six of the boys took seats in the whites-only section and ordered cherry Cokes. It was five days after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made it illegal to discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, or national origin at schools, workplaces, and “public accommodations.” Adult volunteers were testing the law in restaurants, barbershops, buses and swimming pools across the South.

    The Bessemer teens, inspired by Dr. King’s nonviolent campaign in nearby Birmingham the year before, had decided to act on their own—they hadn’t told their parents or planned what to do if they were refused service. After they placed their order, approximately six white men came into the store, blocked the doors, surrounded the counter, and began beating the boys with bats on their backs, arms, and heads. Edward Harris was badly injured and later gave an interview from his hospital bed that was reported across the country. The story quickly disappeared, however, after……………………….



    • 56 donna dem 4 obama
      July 7, 2015 at 4:24 pm

      Lawd, my people have been through hell and back. We stand on the shoulders of GIANTS. What tremendous courage those young people had. God Bless Them All!!!!

      • 57 vcprezofan2
        July 7, 2015 at 4:28 pm

        The journey back seems so, so long though, DD.

        Blessing on all those who came before, indeed!

  16. 58 vcprezofan2
    July 7, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    [The film in the link is a little less than 6mins in length.]

    EJI today released Slavery to Mass Incarceration, an animated short film by acclaimed artist Molly Crabapple, with narration by Bryan Stevenson. The film illustrates facts about American slavery and the elaborate mythology of racial difference that was created to sustain it.

    • 59 GGail
      July 7, 2015 at 5:30 pm

      Hey VC, you should look and see if you can post that story we viewed at your home about blacks in Canada.

      • 60 vcprezofan2
        July 7, 2015 at 5:40 pm

        That’s an idea! First, tho, I’m going to hunt for a newer version for myself. I hadn’t watched it for years and didn’t realize the quality was so poor.

      • 61 vcprezofan2
        July 7, 2015 at 5:44 pm

        BTW – have to brag that courtesy in Canada stretches even to the weather. 😀
        Not wanting a visiting west coaster to feel jealous, our rain waited until after your visit to really fall. We have had an entire afternoon of rain – of course that means I can shelve my worry about the ‘garden’. 😀 😀

        • 62 GGail
          July 7, 2015 at 6:46 pm

          I love it when everything falls into place and works out just fine. It rained before I arrived and rained after I flew back home. I have lovely weather and fellowship with my Canadian family 🙂

          But I did tell you that it was gonna rain again after I left…

  17. 63 donna dem 4 obama
    July 7, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Interesting article. Yes the Black vote has gone heavily for Democrats since the 1930’s but what President Obama did IMO was turnout more AA’s than any other candidate in history. This vote could be duplicated if the 2016 Democratic nominee was smart and played their cards right.

    • 64 Judith Fardig
      July 7, 2015 at 5:02 pm

      And if Democrats fight like hell to overturn any voter suppression tactics and machine tampering.

  18. 65 vcprezofan2
    July 7, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    Last year, the United States brought online as much solar energy every three weeks as it did in all of 2008, and the solar industry added jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy. And since the beginning of 2010, the average cost of a solar electric system has dropped by 50 percent.

    But we know that our economy is strongest when every American has the tools to get ahead. That means just as we are working to make high-quality health care and community college more available and affordable to middle-class and low-income families, we must also work to expand opportunities for families to use cleaner sources of energy that can help households save on their utility bills.

    ……………………….. //

  19. 66 JER
    July 7, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Hey there Chris Christie! Look at this: New Jersey is second worst in the nation in a survey of states’ overall fiscal health released Tuesday.

  20. 67 Nena20409
    July 7, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    In the ObamaCare and The Economy…….The Hits keeps Coming 😉

    Saving $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    Getting Health Care $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    Reducing the Deficit $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  21. 68 Nena20409
    July 7, 2015 at 4:54 pm

  22. 74 Nerdy Wonka
    July 7, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    • 75 dee
      July 7, 2015 at 6:28 pm

      To be fair this shot was taken in 2011 before her 2013 revealed implosion. We don’t like it when the RW searched for anything to incite negative feelings against Pres Obama, let’s not do the same thing. She’s already been cut down to size.

  23. 78 MightyPamela
    July 7, 2015 at 5:09 pm

    I have always visualized PBO carved in the rock face over beside President Lincoln, who was not a slave owner! Although PBO might be the first president to get as much done in the name of democracy, in which case he can supersede Washington! I suppose.

  24. 79 vcprezofan2
    July 7, 2015 at 5:10 pm

    😀 {It was quite silly, really.}

    • 80 desertflower
      July 7, 2015 at 5:28 pm

      I, too, have above average common sense:) Too bad that common sense isn’t so common!

    • 81 desertflower
      July 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm

      thanks, vc…you know I love these:)

      PS…new washer comes Thursday!!!! Yahoo!!

      • 82 vcprezofan2
        July 7, 2015 at 5:35 pm

        How did you know I was thinking of you as I posted it? 😀

        ps: Not the same brand, right? Hope the new one performs beautifully from the moment of its arrival.

        • 83 desertflower
          July 7, 2015 at 6:13 pm

          Thank you, sweetness:) I’m sure that it’ll work like magic! No…not the same brand…bbl off to tutor:)

    • July 7, 2015 at 5:55 pm

      I have above average common sense. My wife says I should demand a recount. The scary part is she’s probably right.

      • 85 vcprezofan2
        July 7, 2015 at 6:01 pm

        *tee-hee-hee* DerBibgle. I’m with you…..r wife on this. While I do have common sense *in real life* 😀 I don’t think it’s above average. Well, maybe we are above average only in so far as common sense seems to be sadly lacking today. OTH, I think their questions were pretty easy and obvious.

    • 86 Betsy
      July 7, 2015 at 6:06 pm

      I too, have above average common sense.

  25. 87 donna dem 4 obama
    July 7, 2015 at 5:20 pm

    We must not forget. All this sweet talk about far left policies sounds wonderful but just exactly how does it get implemented?????

  26. July 7, 2015 at 5:29 pm

    Fingers crossed.

    • July 7, 2015 at 5:33 pm

      YUP. He tweeted earlier today that he’ll be in Strasbourg tomorrow pitching the deal to the European Parliament, LL.

      • July 7, 2015 at 5:36 pm

        BTW, DOW did a boomerang of more than 300 pts and ended up ~ 93 pts with the positive inflection happening concurrent with the hopeful news.

      • July 7, 2015 at 5:41 pm

        As I’ve said, I see lots of gray in this drama. Greece had a sclerotic, corrupt economy, and cooked the books to get admitted to the euro. However, France & Germany knew this, and looked the other way. I understand the common German’s attitude about not wanting to foot the bill for a Greek’s early retirement. However, that’s closing the barn doors after the horses have fled. And what’s just about punishing young Greeks for the sins of their fathers? The idea that the EU will be able to quarantine a Greek default is fanciful. Both sides need to stop dicking around and come to a compromise. A compromise, perforce, means that no one gets all that they want. But the bigger picture is that the EU project, imperfect as it is, goes on.

  27. July 7, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    Posted the tweet about this article, earlier ….

    “Rouhollah Rahmani is another re-pat. Born and raised in Ohio, Rahmani was one of the creators of Microsoft Bing before working at Amazon. Now he runs the Artificial Intelligence Lab at Tehran University and advises the tech incubators sprouting up — run by other re-pats. Rouhollah told me that so long as you create a “don’t care list” of conveniences from Seattle you can live without — high-speed Internet, minimal traffic and predictable food prices — you’ll thrive as a re-pat. Tehran has become part Beirut, part Berlin.

    A visit to Rouhollah’s classroom reveals how difficult it is to predict continuity in Iran’s current socio-political hierarchy: 70% of his computer science students are women. That’s right: While women are in short supply in STEM programs in America, they dominate Iran’s technical student body. Can one really imagine that two decades from now women will be banned from attending major sporting events?

    The ear-splitting evening I spent in Azadi Stadium for the U.S. versus Iran men’s volleyball match embodied just a few of the country’s domestic and international paradoxes. Women were officially not allowed to attend as fans — ostensibly to protect their chaste ears from the male public’s crude chants — but more than a few mothers and daughters were visible around the stands. Most of the official scorekeepers sitting courtside were veiled women. (Better math skills?)

    Equally importantly, the crowd was unwaveringly hospitable to the U.S. team, from the Star Spangled Banner through the final handshakes after Iran upset the top-ranked Americans 3-0. The surveys aren’t lying: Iranians are wild about America. The more Iranians I met the more I saw the similarities between the two societies. Both cultures are full of no nonsense, go get ’em, smartest-guy (or girl)-in-the-room types of people. The next day, the towering American men were mobbed like rock-stars for autographs on Vali-e-Asr, Tehran’s 18-kilometer long North-South thoroughfare.”

    You really don’t want to miss reading Parag Khanna’s entire report ….

  28. 93 Nena20409
    July 7, 2015 at 5:41 pm

    NJ Dems are drafting a bill to get Christie to resign……?
    How pathetic?
    Why are some so clueless of the art of Politicking? This is the kind of JUICE that the Corrupt Christie is seeking to booster his dwindling presidential GOPer nomination campaign. Who on this Green earth advices these Dems?
    Politics 101, if your opponent is in deep water, one thing to do is, to stay away, allow room and when need be, provide a Red Carpet……by staying MUTE and allow the Corrupt Arse to drop in the deep pile of poops.

    • 94 nospin
      July 7, 2015 at 11:16 pm

      as much baggage Christie is hauling around on this campaign trail, I doubt that bill will have much impact.

  29. 95 Nena20409
    July 7, 2015 at 5:41 pm

  30. 96 Nena20409
    July 7, 2015 at 5:50 pm


  31. 97 Nena20409
    July 7, 2015 at 5:52 pm

  32. July 7, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Oh Chiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiips…

    So it was thanks to Wachtell Lipton’s vicious and aggressive lawsuit on behalf of Philip Morris that TV journalism was kneecapped, that 60 Minutes was too frightened to take on tobacco, that a mass American audience never learned of Big Tobacco’s plans to bring their mass-murder business to the more vulnerable regions of the developing world—and that the biggest whistleblowers of the 1990s were gagged from showing their face or having their name mentioned on the most popular TV show in America . . . even managing to gag a whistleblower from talking to his own attorney, under threat of prison.

    And this is where whistleblower-irony becomes so dense, it collapses on itself: Because one of Wachtell Lipton’s young associates working on the Philip Morris lawsuit against ABC-TV was a lawyer by the name of…. Glenn Greenwald.

    We know Greenwald worked at Wachtell Lipton’s New York office at the time of Wachtell’s lawsuit because Greenwald himself has talked about working for Wachtell, beginning in 1993 as a summer associate, then joining out of law school in 1994, and staying on until the end of 1995.

    But, of course, that isn’t necessarily evidence of hypocrisy. Perhaps Greenwald had no idea that the law firm he chose to work for was representing Philip Morris in the most talked about case of 1994. That even though his own boss, Henry Wachtell, was a regular on national TV news defending their tobacco clients, he was still oblivious. Greenwald perhaps didn’t watch television.


    • July 7, 2015 at 6:16 pm

      Blistering …..

      • July 7, 2015 at 6:21 pm

        BTW, I knew this day would come and have been having these discussions with medical colleagues for > 40 years …..

        “In my last article, I gave some background on both the tobacco industry’s deadly conspiracy against humanity and on UCSF’s new 3.0 version of its online searchable tobacco documents library.

        Now it’s time to look at some of the accessories to the greatest crime in human history, which killed 100 million people last century and with one billion expected to die this century from smoking. Every one of those deaths preventable.

        To rack up this many human kills for so many tens of billions of dollars in profits over so many decades and not wind up in prison, the tobacco industry has had to pay off an incredible number of people and institutions over the years.”

  33. 102 Vicki
    July 7, 2015 at 6:00 pm

    If your mind remains open, please check out Rev. Al’s 9 minute in depth interview with Bernie. The Rev clearly respects and likes Bernie.
    Available on MSNBC shift.

    I found it quite surprising.

    • July 7, 2015 at 6:40 pm

      I listened to Bernie’s speech yesterday…i heard all i need to know about Bernie Sanders….

    • 104 Marlz (@marjgra)
      July 7, 2015 at 6:48 pm

      Hi Vicky…I will not watch anything with Bernie Sanders. There is no reason to call the President a liar! He is no better than Wilson who termed the phrase “You Lie.” They are not running against the President… they are running against Republicans.

      • 105 COS
        July 7, 2015 at 6:58 pm

        Bernie Sanders has a one track mind. I just heard this pundit say that Bernie Sanders’ crowds are not very diverse.

    • 106 idon
      July 7, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      Bernie called PBO a liar so he is DEAD to me.

  34. July 7, 2015 at 6:42 pm

  35. July 7, 2015 at 6:43 pm

  36. 109 Allison
    July 7, 2015 at 6:46 pm

  37. July 7, 2015 at 6:48 pm

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