GOP nominee Mitt Romney probably put it best in a statement released just after this morning's jobs numbers were released: "If last night was the party, this morning is the hangover."
At 8:30 am ET this morning, we might have received the news that explained President Obama's startlingly bad performance last night. If there was a single moment Democrats thought they could count on to hit a convention grand slam, it was their clean-up hitter, Barack Obama, who would undoubtedly close the convention on a triumphant note. Instead, what we got was a wan, uninspiring speech from a president who seemed tired and even defeated.
When Obama gave that speech, he already knew the numbers that were just released a few minutes ago. So it's not hard to imagine that his performance was affected, knowing that in just a few hours a bomb was about drop on his parade.
And what a bomb it is. Expectations for the new jobs numbers ranged from 150,000 to 210,000. Instead, only 96,000 new private sector jobs were created -- a brutal number, even worse than last month's.
The President was given a bit of window dressing in the form of the unemployment rate, which dipped from 8.3% to 8.1%. But even the Obama-worshipping media isn't attempting to spin this into good news. The reason the number dropped was only due to a staggering number of people, 368,000, giving up the search for work and leaving the workforce.
Romney again: "For every net new job created, nearly four Americans gave up looking for work entirely."
Overall, the labor participation rate also hit a new low, falling to 63.5%, the lowest number since the third quarter of 1981.
Areas of special importance to Obama also went backwards: 15,000 manufacturing jobs were lost last month and automakers cut 7,500 jobs.
In worse news, the meager job gains in June and July were revised down as was the average number of jobs the economy is creating when compared to last year:
The government also said Friday that 41,000 fewer jobs were created in July and June than first estimated. The economy has added just 139,000 jobs a month since the start of the year, below 2011's average of 153,000.
The American Enterprise Institute's James Pethokoukis is deep-diving the numbers and Tweeting out analysis as he goes. According to Pethokoukis, if the labor participation rate was the same as when Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 11.2% today. If the participation rate hadn't dropped just last month, the unemployment rate would've increased to 8.4% this month instead of dropping to 8.1%.
This is devastating news for a failed President who proved in his speech last night that he is exhausted and out of ideas. Other than "more of the same," Obama had nothing to offer, and this morning was a startling reminder that "more of the same" is a recipe for four more years of failure.
For the American people, however, these numbers are heartbreaking. The thought of so many people giving up hope and leaving the workforce altogether is a tale of despondency. And there is no greater indictment of this president's failure than the knowledge that so many are despondent today that we have devolved all the way back to 1981 participation levels.
"Forward" is nothing more than a word on a teleprompter.
Out here in the real world, things are bad and only getting worse.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC