Stop Cooking the Books, Mr. President!

by Gerri Willis

In accounting, they call it cooking the books. Fudging the numbers to make them work for you.

Today's White House is taking that to a new level using today's jobs numbers to paint a rosy picture that doesn't exist.

Here's what the President said today:

“This morning we learned that American businesses added another 212,000 jobs last month.”

So we added 212,000 jobs minus the 12,000 government jobs lost. That's a net gain of 200,000.

So what kind of jobs?

Remember the video of the UPS guy hired over Christmas to help with deliveries?

He threw a customer's package to the ground and made an obscene gesture.

And that's where most of the jobs were. "Couriers and Messengers.”

There was a lot of hiring there because of the record amount of holiday shopping done online.

And job quality is a big issue here, because most of the jobs added over the past year were in low-paying sectors, bars, restaurants and retail.

Unemployment may be coming down, but higher paying jobs are not coming back.

Today's jobs report also shows that in the service sector - including those couriers and messengers - average hourly earnings wages went down.

Even though for the whole year average hourly earnings were up more than two percent - was not enough to keep pace with inflation at nearly three and a half percent.

So in real terms, wages are actually going down. That's how it feels to our pockets.

Here's the reality.

There are fewer people working in the private sector today than when President Obama took office.

The same is true for manufacturing, and that brings me to something you won't hear the President talk about.

A better measure of unemployment is what the Labor Department calls "marginally attached workers."

That includes everyone who can't find a full-time job or quit looking for work altogether.

What's that number? 15.2 percent.

That means the number of people hit by the bad economy is nearly twice what the official number would suggest.

And the real crux of the issue - the percentage of working-age Americans in the labor force - or the so-called - 'labor force participation rate' - is lower now than when President Obama took office.

This also makes the official number look better than it actually is.

The unemployment rate fell slightly for Whites and Hispanics - the unemployment rate for Blacks is 15.8 percent - exactly where it was a year ago.

For Black women the rate actually went up.

Hardly progress.

At the current rate of job growth, it would take until about 2020 to get back to where we were before recession.

Mister President?

“We're starting to rebound. We're moving in the right direction. We have made real progress. Now's not the time to stop.”

Yes, we do need to stop. We need to stop the crazy spending in Washington. Like the "Green Energy" grants by the Obama Administration; billions spent... A handful of jobs produced.

We can't spend our way to prosperity. If that was the case Europe would be booming, but it's not - it's bust.

And that's where we're headed if this President doesn't change course.