The U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed the national unemployment rate for August 2009 was 9.7% - the highest in more than 26 years.
It represents an increase of 0.3% from last month. In fairness, there were actually fewer job losses than expected last month but the unemployment rate rose because more people were actively seeking work.
I remember when I would write articles in praise of President Bush and would receive negative feedback for it I would be told about 3 million unemployed under Bush. In the months leading up to President Bush's re-election the unemployment rate was hovering around 5.5%. To put things into further perspective in August 2008 the national unemployment rate was 6.1%. So in the space of one year the national unemployment rate has risen 3.6%.
Of course, some of that rise happened during the final months of the Bush Administration. By the time Bush left office the national unemployment rate was at 7.6%. Since President Obama took office the national unemployment rate has risen more than 2%.
So while the U.S. economy lost 216,000 jobs in August the Canadian economy actually gained more than 27,000 jobs. The Canadian unemployment rate last month is exactly one percent lower than ours at 8.7%. What both economies have in common though is that more people are looking for work. So Canada's unemployment rate actually climbed 0.1% last month. But it is worth noting that economists were projecting a loss of 15,000 jobs in August.
This is good news for Stephen Harper and Canada's Conservative government. If Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals are bent on bringing down the government and force an election this fall all Harper has to do is point to these numbers, say Canada is on the road to recovery and ask why change horses in midstream.
It also makes one wonder about the effectiveness of President Obama's economic policies when Canada is making a quicker recovery than we are.