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August 20, 2014, 2:26 pm

Keeping jobs numbers in proper perspective

The slow growth of the U.S. economy will play a major role in the presidential campaign.

Therefore it is important that voters put the economy in proper perspective and ask some key questions such as: What caused the recession? Why is the economy growing so slowly? Who’s to blame? How does it get it fixed?

These are just some of the questions voters should ask as they consider the dismal new Labor Department report released Friday which found that only 80,000 jobs were added in June, well short of the 100,000 to 150,000 jobs economists say are necessary each month to keep up with population growth.

The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 8.2 percent. The unemployment rate for African Americans rose slightly to 14.4 percent. The unemployment rate for Hispanics remained unchanged at 11 percent; for white it remained unchanged at 7.4 percent and for Asians, a slight increase to 6.3 percent.

Despite the disproportionate number of media stories about college graduates not finding jobs the report clearly shows those with more education fare considerably better than those without.

Unemployment for those with less than a high school education is 12.6 percent; unemployment rate for high school graduates is 8.4 percent; unemployment for those with some college is at 7.5 percent and for those with a bachelor’s degree or higher the unemployment rate stands at 4.7 percent.

Overall the new job report showed that the economy is not generating enough jobs, a fact that Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney immediately seized on.

“America can do better,” said Romney.

He said President Obama’s policies have “clearly not been successful in reigniting this economy, in putting people back to work and in opening factories across this country.”

The president himself acknowledges that the economy must do better.

“It’s still tough out there,” said Obama. “Too many of our friends and family members and neighbors are still out of work; too many folks still are seeing their home property values underwater.”

The president is right to not to try to sugarcoat the economy.

But the fact is the economic problems of today are not his fault. His policies improved the economy and there would possibly be even more progress if the Republicans in Congress were not blocking his proposals to increase job creation.

The recession is primarily the result of the Bush administration policies of huge tax cuts for the rich; the bursting of the housing bubble; deregulation in the financial sectors and the financing of two wars.

The economy continues to be hurt by the slow recovery in the U.S. housing market and economic problems in Europe.

The new jobs report shows that the recession that started in December 2007 continues to influence business and consumer spending.

The president’s policies have helped to improve the economy.

The 2009 stimulus he pushed through Congress helped to jump-start the economy according to most economic analysis. He rescued the auto industry and helped solve the financial crisis on Wall Street.

The economy could be doing better if there was even more economic stimulus. The economy would also be helped if Congress were to pass the president’s jobs bill which is estimated to create up to 1.9 million jobs, including aid to states to hire teachers and other public employees, investments in infrastructure and tax breaks for companies hiring new employees.

Republicans in Congress blocked these plans and in a presidential election year are expected to continue to do so in the future.

Most political observers believe there is no chance Congress will take any action on job creation plans proposed by the president between now and the November election.

In the coming months the president must remind voters how the economy got in its present shape, what he did to improve it, how Republicans blocked further progress and why Romney is the wrong choice because of his embrace of the failed Republican policies of the past that created America’s economic problems.