Happy days are here again?
HERE‘s Tom Keane’s answer to the question in the headline above:
The economic news from November has been strikingly good. To most Americans, the important measures of the economy are those that track employment. Another new high for the Dow Jones Industrial Index may prompt cheers, but it has little meaning for the out-of-work or underemployed. November saw the unemployment rate drop to 7.0 percent, the lowest since before Obama took office. And while the unemployment rate can often be a quirky and misleading measure, this time other indicators are marching in lockstep. The rate went down because a net of 203,000 jobs were created during the month, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics — the average monthly gain for the last 12 months is now 195,000. The number of people participating in the labor force (that is, those working or those looking for work) also climbed, as onetime discouraged job seekers came back into the labor market, more optimistic about their chances of landing a position. Real wages increased, productivity grew, and inflation remained low — so far this year, it’s averaged only 1.0 percent.
And all of this good news came during a time when the US government was getting over another one of its frequent crises — this time, the partial shutdown in October as federal workers were furloughed and uncertainty reigned. What that suggests is that there’s a strong resiliency to the US economy. Policies put in motion by Obama shortly after he took office (particularly the economic stimulus law and the restructuring of the automobile industry) are now bearing fruit, and short-term kerfuffles — even a shutdown — won’t stop it.