How Low Can You Go?
It's fascinating that when the unemployment numbers were released last week, and they showed that 288,000 jobs were added, and that the unemployment rate had dropped to 6.1 percent, it received scant news.
To be clear, I don't think that this relatively-low unemployment rate proves that the economy has is good and fully recovered. Nor do I think that unemployment rates, whatever they are, are proof of the status of the economy, in general. Among other things, for instance, unemployment rates don't by themselves differentiate between what kind of jobs are being gained, nor do they take into consideration people who have dropped out of looking for work.
But there are certain observations one can draw from data was released.
First, I think it's fair to say that when the unemployment rate has dropped from 7.8 percent when President Obama took office to 6.1 percent, that's A Good Thing.
Second, this was the fifth consecutive months where over 200,000 jobs were gained, and when you can establish a pattern, that is A Good Thing. Especially when it's the best such period since the technology boom of the last 1990s.
Third, long-term unemployment -- which can be a pervasive indication of the economy -- is just over 3 million, which is half the number from three years ago. And that's A Good Thing.
Fourth, over the past year, 2.5 million jobs have been added. That works out to an average of 208,000 new jobs each month for a year, the best average since 2006. That's a Good Thing.
Fifth, when looking at where the job gains came from, it isn't simply from low-paying service jobs. Factory workers increased by 16,000, retail stores added 40.200 new employees, financial and insurance firms had a growth of 17,000. All that is A Good Thing.
By the way, it's also worth nothing that when the Affordable Care Act passed, and Republicans proclaimed from the rafters that Obamacare would create vast unemployment, that not only has proven to be untrue, but the very opposite has occurred.
So, it's all the more surprising that the unemployment report for June received so little attention. Mind you, I do understand why it didn't on "Fox News." But elsewhere, in the actual television news press? I thought it might even be the lead story in some places. Ah, silly me.
Interestingly -- and I swear this is true -- when I went on Twitter to take a breather after writing that previous paragraph and right before figuring out to end this piece, the most recent tweet posted at the top of the page was from Erich Boehlert of Media Matters. To be clear, he didn't just write it (that had been yesterday, as you can see on the time-date stamp), but it had just been retweeted.
Well...better to have the unemployment rate plummet and have your approval go up and no one mention it...than the other way around.
I suspect that if that had occurred, it would have been noted.
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Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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