Actually, as it happens, I should have waited a day to write that piece, because the next day, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the jobs number for February. And the unemployment rate dropped another two-tenths of a point, down to 5.5 percent. That's a drop of 32 percent from its high during the Obama Administration.
The Wall Street Journal -- hardly a bastion of liberal thought (and owned by Rupert Murdoch, owner of "Fox News") -- had a tweet which referred to the current economic situation as "almost full employment." That might be a bit of hyperbole, but considering the sources, it's darn impressive as far as hyperbole goes.
To be clear, some of the unemployment rate drop is because there are people who quit looking for work and therefore no long count in the unemployment statistics.
But offsetting the importance of that is the additional news that 295,000 new jobs were created. That's 53 straight months of job increases. Further, it's the 12th straight month with job increases of at least 200,000. A full year. That's the first time that's happened in 20 years, in 1994-95. For those of you without a history book handy, that's when Bill Clinton was president, the last Democrat who was president before Barack Obama. Driving along when the news was announced, the reporter commented, as well, that 3.3 million new jobs had been created since Mr. Obama took office.
It almost made you feel that Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) was surprisingly prescient when he again tried to diminish the importance of the unemployment rate last Tuesday, when he called them "a sham," after having previously said in January that unemployment numbers were doctored.
Now, you'd think that most Americans would be thrilled to know that the economic condition of the United States was improving so notably. Needless to say, though, conservatives weren't happy -- for whatever twisted reason they could come up with. Basically, it seemed to center around the conspiracy theory that the President has the Bureau of Labor Statistics in his hip pocket and can change number to whatever he wanted.
Forgetting for a moment that that's not how the BLS works, and that safeguards are put in place to protect against any Administration playing games with the jobs numbers, such whines beg a few questions --
If the President can get the BLS to fudge numbers, why on earth did it take him six years to get it down to 5.5 percent?? And why only 5.5 percent, why not announce that the unemployment rate has plummeted to, say, 3.7 percent. And...and, well, if manipulating the unemployment rate was something a president could do -- why in the world, then, did George W. Bush let it skyrocket to 8.1?!!
Yes, I know it's so unfortunate when unemployment drop and millions of jobs get created, especially under the leadership of That One. But alas, Republicans are just going to have to live with it, at least until they can do something about it, like put the entire Department of Homeland Security out of work. Or maybe they could again refuse to increase the Debt Ceiling, that could sure crush the economy. It's coming up again in just a week, on March 16! Or they could vote again to get ride of national healthcare and put the economy in a flux.
So...good luck, conservatives! Maybe you'll get your way and finally get a chance to turn around the economic recovery.
The bad news for the Far Right, though is that according to the A.P. the chief economist for Moody's, Mark Zandi, said that he expects the economy to grow 3 percent during the rest of the year, "which would be the first time it's reached that level in a decade." Mr. Zendi noted that that would be fast enough to support enough hiring of 250,000 new workers each month.
Sorry to end on such a down note.