The Department of Labor reported today for the months of February that Non-farm payroll employment increased by 192,000 reducing the unemployment rate to 8.9 percent. It also reported that "Job gains occurred in manufacturing, construction, professional and business services, health care, and transportation and warehousing". This is an encouraging news as a whole that Democrats should take to the bank praising as evidence that the economic recovery is on the right track while acknowledging there is still a lot of work ahead. While these are good news, there is also disappointment on a sector of working groups data that has showed little to non upward movement as the unemployment rate for blacks continue to be almost at twice the rate of whites (15.3%) and the unemployment rate for teenagers at almost 24%. Washington post reports:
It is perhaps the best all-around jobs report in three years. (Although the pace of job creation was faster for three months last spring, those numbers were inflated by temporary Census hiring.) Many analysts viewed the rapid decline in the unemployment rate in December and January as too good to be true, expecting the February number to inch back up to 9.1 percent. The further drop in the jobless rate was a sign that conditions could indeed be getting better for American workers. Private employers may finally be gaining the confidence to start hiring. They added 222,000 jobs [that is 1.5 million workers in the past year], partly offset by the loss of 30,000 government jobs. And the dip in unemployment showed that the steep drops in December and January were real and not stastistical aberrations.An article from Slate notes that there is an increased confidence in the work forces and:
...every major economic indicator has looked better in the past few months. New claims for unemployment benefits are dropping. The stock market is headed up, making people feel a bit wealthier. Companies are advertising more positions. Business and consumer confidence is up. Corporate profits are at all-time highs, meaning America's businesses have plenty of capacity to hire. Domestic manufacturing expanded for the 19th consecutive month in February. Gross domestic product continues to rise, and global demand continues to increase.So, these are important elements of recovery Democrats should be excited about. Good news always bears good fruit if they are used in a way that will promote Democratic agendas further. I believe this is our moment to take the good and shape the messaging to reinforce confidence that is needed to boost morale and a much needed investment. It is our time to show the result of the policies no matter how little some may think, progressives do indeed make progress. Some critics will continue to make that kind of approach and strategy as an overreaction to a good news. Paul Krugman wrote early in January 2011:
I've noticed many people overreacting to recent good economic news. What particularly concerns me is the risk of self-denying optimism -- that is, I worry that policy makers will look at a few favorable economic indicators, decide that they no longer need to promote recovery, and take steps that send us sliding right back to the bottom.I believe it is a legitimate concern but I personally have confidence in the kind of people who are policy makers to make a sound and legitimate decisions if the last two years are any indication. However, I have said this before and I will repeat it again. Just because we have good news does not make it a reason to take our eyes from pushing harder to find a way to do better. I understand we all want to add 300-500K jobs a month and put back another 4 million workers back into the labor force within a year or so. No doubt that this President has every intention to do just that. Shoot, it is everyone's hope and dream to see folks who are suffering alleviated from being unemployed and out of poverty. No one would dare to say hooray or pretend like the shit sandwich we have been handed from eight years of Bushism hasn't hit the fan. Most Democrats are just saying we are seeing HOPE with 14 months of positive private sector job growth, 19th consecutive months of expansion in domestic manufacturing, GDP growth, a rising Stock Market, et al. These number can't be any better considering where we have been in the last three years. 5 million jobs were lost in 2009. We have recovered 1.5 million just from jobs created from the private sector to date . I would say A-M-E-N considering what could have been a disaster with potential 20% unemployment rate had it been McCain or one of them teabaggers in the Oval Office. So today is a good day and I will celebrate it. 192,000 families have a roof over their head and their spirits are lifted up. While it might be a small achievement to some, it is like winning a lottery to those who just turned the corner and able to put food on the table for their families. Yes, it might take us two or three years (hopefully not) to be at a 5% unemployment level but with all the limitation and partisanship displayed by the party of NO, our recovery is working and we must give a shout out to our achievements to reinforce or build confidence. It is time to stop the tamping down of our excitement and go all out in full force shaping the message because we have all the data, the truth and facts in our side. I must say, it has always been my intuition from day one that we have the right leader to guide us into the promise land. His name is President Barack Obama and he is smiling today.
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