Employers in the United States added 200,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday, a report that came on the heels of a flurry of heartening economic news and signaled gathering momentum in the recovery. Consumer confidence lifted, factories stepped up production and small businesses showed signs of life. The nation’s unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent, its lowest level in nearly three years.
It was the sixth consecutive month that the economy showed a net gain of more than 100,000 jobs — not enough to restore employment to pre-recession levels but enough, perhaps, to cheer President Obama as he enters the election year.
No sitting president has won re-election with an employment rate at 8.5 percent, but Mr. Obama is calculating that he can make a credible argument that he took over a country in an economic disaster and slowly walked it back.
You're going to continue to hear how there's no way the President can win re-election with unemployment this high, but considering that good news politically is almost always relative, and that the Republican solution is exactly what got us into this mess in the first place, the President has a better chance than the history books insist.
After all, there was never an African-American president until Barack Obama came along, so it's not like he's unused to firsts.
Having said that, there is the seasonal employment angle, specifically the 42,000 FedEx and UPS seasonal delivery personnel and warehouse jobs that will disappear this month. We'll see what kind of numbers we get from the weekly jobless claims.