Business uncertainty runs rampant in the Obama era, which is underscored by the recent difficulties with Obamacare, the government shutdown, and the upcoming debt ceiling debate. According to the latest Gallup survey, just 37 percent of business owners approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president, measuring 8 percentage points lower than it does among all U.S. workers.
Throughout his presidency, Gallup has found business owners have consistently given the president lower approval ratings, averaging 10 percent lower than all workers since 2009. The traditionally lower approval ratings among business owners could reflect disagreements with Obama’s policies, in particular Obamacare, but they also aren’t surprising considering the group’s generally strong Republican leanings.
Among U.S. business owners, 49 percent identify with the Republican Party or lean Republican, while 36 percent identify with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic.
Relative to other groups, business owners’ 37 percent presidential approval rating ranks near the bottom. Installers or repair workers approve of Obama by just 35 percent, and farmers, fishermen, or forestry workers have similarly low approval ratings at 34 percent. Professional workers at 49 percent and service workers at 49 percent, as well, are the most approving groups.
Looking at the jobs reports over Obama’s tenure and that, too, is not too surprising. Traditional middle and worker class jobs, such as trade and manufacturing, have been all but erased from American job creation, while service and professional sectors have grown. However, the vast majority of jobs created over the last year have been part-time jobs, with companies scaling down to avoid the mandated insurance coverage for full-time workers under Obamacare.
When we hear about the wealth gap expanding, we must keep in mind that almost all of the middle class wage growth has been stagnant under President Obama, with the newest numbers showing the mean middle class income falling back to the levels they were in the 1980s.
Meanwhile, these realties are also beginning to manifest in economic surveys, as well. Gallup’s Economic Confidence Index slid to -19 in September from -13 in August, the worst monthly average since -19 in September 2012. Similiarly, the Rasmussen Employment Index which measures worker confidence fell four points in September to the lowest level this year. At 82.0, worker confidence is down 12 points from this year’s high of 94.4 in May and is at the lowest level measured since last November. Still, the latest finding is up from 76.6 found this time last year.
This is coupled by 52 percent of consumers and 45 percent of investors agreeing that the U.S. economy is currently in a recession. With the government shutdown continuing, we won’t get the monthly numbers from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, but according to the ADP National Employment Report, U.S. private employers added a fewer-than-expected 166,000 jobs in September. Gallup’s U.S. Payroll to Population Rate came in at 43.5 percent in September, suggesting an ever-shrinking labor force.
Underemployment, as measured without seasonal adjustment, was 17.1 percent in September, down slightly from 17.4 percent in August, but up compared with 16.5 percent in September 2012. Gallup’s U.S. underemployment rate combines the percentage of adults in the workforce who are unemployed with the percentage of those who are working part time but looking for full-time work.
Even though the unemployment rate for September is 7.9 percent, which is down from 8.6 percent Gallup measured in August, the percentage of part-time workers wanting full-time work was 9.4 percent in September, up from 8.7 percent in August and from 8.6 percent last September. This suggests the decline in the unemployment rate is actually due to more Americans taking part-time jobs rather than gaining the full-time employment they want.