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Saturday, November 05, 2011

Obama Cheers Job Growth

Why isn't anyone else?
When 9% Is a Relief
Wall Street Journal editorial

We live in an era of such diminished economic expectations that even small job gains are greeted on Wall Street and Washington with relief. That's the story of yesterday's labor report for October, which saw the jobless rate fall to 9% from 9.1% as the economy added 80,000 net new jobs (104,000 in the private sector). The unemployment rate has been above 8% for 33 months.

This continues the recent trend of a slowly improving job market, consistent with a tepid recovery but no recession. In 2011, the economy has added about 120,000 jobs a month. At this pace, it will take until the end of 2016 for the U.S. to replace all the jobs lost during the recession that ended two years ago. After the previous seven post-World War II recessions, it took the economy on average about two to three years to recover job losses.

Maybe the most optimistic news in the jobs report is that the share of those unemployed for six months or more fell to 42.4% from 44.6%. That decline may accelerate as the 99 weeks of unemployment benefits run out—which may cause the jobless rate to fall faster than if President Obama had got his way and Congress extended benefits even longer. The so-called underemployment rate, which includes part-time workers who would like to work full-time, also fell to 16.2% from 16.5%.

The larger and unfortunate truth is that the U.S. needs an extended run of above-average economic growth to drive the jobless rate down to levels where all Americans can begin to see bigger income gains. How to spur that growth should be the central debate of next year's election campaign. [link]
That should be the central debate next year. But it won't be. It'll be all about racism, sexism, homophobia, Christianity, the Tea Party ...