Great news on unemployment, as the rate falls to 8.3 percent (Bureau of Labor Statistics report here). All the normal disclaimers apply, of course (e.g., thing are not quite as rosy when you include those who have fallen out of the labor force in the past few years). But nonetheless, this is good news for the nation (unless you are banking on a bad economy to shape the outcome of the 2012 election or to serve as the lead in to a another editorial on why the stimulus was too small).
Ron Brownstein (National Journal), the potential ramifications for the President’s reelection bid can only be positive:
“Looking forward to 2012, one challenge for Obama has been that groups that he needs to turn out in big numbers — groups at the core of his coalition — have been among those hit hardest by the sustained downturn. Many of them are still suffering. But Friday’s unemployment number showed bigger gains for African-Americans and Hispanics than for whites. And young people, another key Obama block from 2008 that has also been heavily affected, also saw big improvements. For each of those three groups, the unemployment rate is now the lowest it’s been essentially since Obama took office.”
Ben Casselman (WSJ) provides a useful overview of the BLS report. Bottom line:
“Today’s jobs report carries good news on both fronts. The unemployment rate fell, and the employment-population ratio rose. That means the improvement in the labor market is real — people actually found jobs.”
Of course, this improvement may only prove temporary (e.g., if the projections are correct for the Eurozone, there may be some negative consequences for the US growth rate in the next year). But it is always nice to end the workweek on a positive note.