When President Obama took office in January 2009, the unemployment rate was 7.8%. The following month, it cracked eight percent, where it stayed until September 2012, when it dipped to 7.8%. In October, it climbed up to 7.9%.12
Unfortunately, this single indicator does not provide a clear outlook on job creation. The “real” underemployment rate—that is, people who have given up looking for work and people who have part-time jobs but who want full-time jobs—sits unchanged at 14.7%.
But even that number is misleading, or at the very least, skewed. In 2012, California—the most populous state in America, with 36.7 million inhabitants—had the highest underemployment rate of 20.3%.13
Nevada, which is another state reeling from the housing bust, is actually worse off. According to the government, its average unemployment rate is 12.3%, and its underemployment rate is 22.1%—a gap of 9.8 percentage points compared to California’s 9.1 percentage point gap.
The unemployment and underemployment numbers are dismal and are expected to remain so throughout much of 2013. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lowered its growth estimate for the global economy to 3.6% for 2013 and warned that any revisions would be to the downside.
The Congressional Budget Office expects 2013 to produce real gross domestic product (GDP) growth of only 1.7%. It also expects the U.S. to close out 2013 with an unemployment rate at an unhealthy eight percent.14