With the US presidential election just 4 months away, focus on tier 1 economic data will become acute, as will headlines blasting top-line data without much, if any, underlying "between the lines" analysis. Which is why we have decided to put together a template of key data series that in our opinion best capture the dramatic shift in the labor composition of the US welfare state under the Obama administration, starting with January 2009. Here are the facts:
- Total Nonfarm Payrolls have decreased by -1.3 million from December 2008 (134,379K) to June 2012 (133,088); Source: St. Louis Fed
- Full-time jobs based on the Household Survey, have decreased by 2.5 million from 117,039K to 114,573K; Source: Table A.9, BLS
- Parti-time jobs based on the Household Survey, have increased by 1.6 million from 26,3187 to 27,894K; Source: Table A.9, BLS
- Foodstamps recipients have increased by 14.6 million from 31.567 million to 46,187 (as of April 2012); Source: USDA
- Disability recipients have increased by 1.3 million from 7.427 million to 8.733 million; Source: Social Security Administration
And that, in a nutshell, is how the economy has performed over the past 42 months.
Which, however, is not to say that in addition to millions on foodstamps and disability, and just over a million part-time workers added, the US has little to show for the last three and a half years: as the chart below shows, over the same time period Total Public Debt to GDP has risen from 76.7% to 101.7%, a 25% increase in absolute terms.