Never mind the fact that six million people left the work force since Obama took office, artificially lowering the unemployment rate.

( — The 8.5 percent unemployment rate announced on Friday is in line with the rate the Obama administration forecast if the $825-billion stimulus package did not pass — it was signed into law in February 2009 and, besides funding myriad government projects and more public employees, was supposed to keep unemployment below 8 percent.

Without the stimulus, unemployment was projected to rise to 8.8 percent by the fourth quarter of 2010, according to a report by Christina Romer, then the chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisors, and Jared Bernstein, then the chief economist for Vice President Joe Biden.

“In the absence of stimulus, the economy could lose another 3 to 4 million more [jobs],” said the January 2009 report by the Obama administration. “Thus, we are working to counter a potential total job loss of at least 5 million. As Figure 1 shows, even with the large prototypical package, the unemployment rate in 2010Q4 is predicted to be approximately 7.0%, which is well below the approximately 8.8% that would result in the absence of a plan.”

The 8.5 percent is the lowest rate since February 2009, when President Barack Obama took office in January with a 7.8 percent unemployment rate. However, the unemployment rate has steadily risen since the president was in office.

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