This piece about Obama's "Colossal Miscalculation On Health Care" by Charlie Cook contains two insightful factoids that I was not previously aware of. First, with regards to unemployment, most people know that the official unemployment numbers do not count people who have given up looking for work. One of the effects of this omission is that the unemployment rate can actually improve without the creation of new jobs if people get so discouraged that they begin giving up in droves. However, I hadn't fully grasped the counterpoint: just because new jobs are created doesn't mean the unemployment rate will go down!

A number of economists expect that unemployment will get worse before it gets better. Even if that prediction is wrong, some analysts estimate that Labor's household employment survey would have to show a net increase of 150,000 jobs a month for 48 straight months for the unemployment rate to drop to just 9 percent. ...

Even before December's negative jobs report, economist Robert Reich, who was Labor secretary in the Clinton administration, wrote on talkingpointsmemo.com that "the chances of unemployment being 10 percent next November are overwhelmingly high." The number of newly created jobs will be offset by discouraged workers beginning to once again seek employment, Reich predicted, resulting in little change in the overall unemployment rate.

No wonder the unemployment rate is a trailing indicator of the economy!

Second, presidents never get more popular during their second year in office.

As political analyst and data-cruncher extraordinaire Rhodes Cook noted in the December issue of The Rhodes Cook Letter, no other president in the past half-century has seen his Gallup job-approval rating drop as far as Obama's has in his first year (down 21 points), and no president in that same half-century has seen his approval rating go up, even as much as 1 point, between the end of his first year and the eve of his first midterm election.

I think Obama and the Democrats are in trouble.

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