1024px-Unemployed_men_queued_outside_a_depression_soup_kitchen_opened_in_Chicago_by_Al_Capone,_02-1931_-_NARA_-_541927“First-time claims for unemployment benefits rose to 277,000 in the week ending Aug. 15, the Department of Labor reported Thursday,” The Washington Examiner reports.

“The 4,000 increase defied economists’ expectations for claims to tick down from an unrevised 274,000 the week before,” the paper notes.  “The rise pulled the four-week moving average of initial claims up to 271,500, a 5,500 increase.”

The rise in jobless claims is fueled by states practicing Obama’s belief you can tax and regulate yourself into prosperity.

“California, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania saw the biggest weekly increases in first-time claims, along with Puerto Rico,” the Examiner reveals.

New York and Pennsylvania have recently banned fracking, spurring job losses.

Democrats point to the declining unemployment rate as a claim that the economy is recovering, but youth unemployment statistics show how the unemployment rate is not an accurate indicator of the health of job growth.

“From April to July 2015, the number of employed youth 16 to 24 years old increased by 2.1 million to 20.3 million, the Labor Department reports.

Great news, huh?  That must mean the unemployment rate’s not dropped.

Not so fast.

While the youth employment number rose, so did the youth unemployment rate.

“Unemployment among youth rose by 654,000 from April to July 2015, compared with an increase of 913,000 for the same period in 2014,” the Labor Department reports.

That was because the number of youth looking for jobs rose as well.

The unemployment rate can easily be ratcheted up, or down, based on whether people are looking for jobs.

An easy indicator of economic health is the civilian labor force participation rate.

Simply put, it is the number of work-eligible Americans who are working, or seeking work, not counting the military.

For July 2015, the civilian labor force participation rate was 62.6 percent.

When Obama took office, it was 65.7 percent.

The numbers don’t lie.

Americans who can work either aren’t working, or can’t find jobs, under Obama.