The Roaring Obama Recovery: From Bottom Falling Out to Full Employment

The Roaring Obama Recovery: From Bottom Falling Out to Full Employment

Credit: Steve Benen, Maddowblog.

Credit: Steve Benen, Maddowblog.

With the December jobs report, it became clear that 2014 was the best year for America's employment growth since 1999. In December alone, employment numbers exceeded analyst expectations by adding 252,000 jobs as the unemployment rate fell to a fresh low of 5.6%. Further, the New York Times reports that November's jobs numbers were revised up to 353,000. Compared to a year ago, every measure of joblessness has fallen - from the traditional unemployment rate (U-3) to those who are available for full time work but are forced to work part time.

Here is what the average monthly jobs growth numbers have looked so far in the Obama recovery:

Mark Zandi, former McCain economic adviser and Moody's chief economist had this to say about the job market:

“At the current pace of job growth, the economy should be closing in on a 5 percent unemployment rate by this time next year, which is consistent with full employment,” he said. “Wage growth should also pick up more broadly in coming months.”

As President Obama would be the first to say, his job isn't done. But this is historic. If Zandi turns out to be correct, we will have gone from the bottom falling out of the economy to full employment in six short years. From the worst effects of the greatest recession in US history second only to the Great Depression to a full employment economy in six years.

As I have said again and again, this did not happen by accident. The road from the economic calamity that George W. Bush and the Republican Congress left the American people at the dawn of Barack Obama's election to the Oval office to the best year of job creation since 1999 is not a freak accident of history. It is the result of careful, deliberate and systematic tireless effort of a man I have no doubt history will come to know as not simply one of the most consequential presidents but one of its most selfless patriots.

From the Recovery Act to health reform (which plays a big role in economic security), from re-regulating Wall Street to consumer protection, from singlehandedly rescuing the American auto industry to unblemished management of the financial rescue, from unemployment insurance to tax fairness, this president has been attacked by his enemies a socialist and derided by his supposed supporters as a fraud. Yet with each of these, this president assembled the team that was needed and succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of anyone watching the 2008 collapse by the force of sheer determination and focus.

Too many times we are asked even by those who agree that this president's accomplishments have been second to none why this White House's "PR operation" is so "weak." Let's get something straight: for the amount of good Barack Obama has done for this country, he shouldn't need a PR operation. There is something horribly wrong with a system where the measure of a president's dedication and that of the success of his policies is limited to the reach of his press office.

There is one simple reason why America at the beginning of 2015 does not look like the America at the beginning of 2009, and that reason is the president who has led this country during those years. There is one simple reason why we are looking today at the precipice of another economic boom instead of the verge of an economic annihilation, and his name is Barack Obama.



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