Bleak Unemployment Assumptions in Obama Budget

By Lindsey Ellerson

Feb 4, 2010 12:37pm

President Obama doesn’t think unemployment within the next decade will return to the relatively low level it was in 2007 when he launched his presidential campaign, at least according to supplemental documents to his Fiscal Year 2011 budget.

Whether you consider the president’s assumptions about unemployment bleak or realistic, they will likely not come as welcome news to the millions of unemployed and underemployed – or to Democrats hoping to win elections in the next decade.

In the supplemental volume “Analytical Perspectives,” the Obama administration estimates that the annual average rate of unemployment will remain at 10% for 2010, and dip only slightly next year, in 2011, to 9.2%.

In 2012, the year President Obama faces re-election, unemployment will average 8.2%, the budget projects. It will be at 7.3% in 2013.

The average annual rate of unemployment in 2008 was 5.8%; President Obama’s budget does not anticipate a return to a level below that until 2016, when the budget projects 5.5% unemployment.

The average annual rate of unemployment in 2007, the year then-Sen. Obama launched his presidential campaign, was 4.6%.

The president doesn’t anticipate unemployment returning to that level at any point from now until 2020; the budget projects its lowest level of unemployment, 5.2%, in 2017, the year after he would end his second term, assuming he is re-elected.


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