The U.S. Labor Department released on Friday its July report showing that the American economy shed 247,000 jobs, the lowest monthly number since August 2008, and representing a continuing declining trend since the beginning of this year when job losses hit a record high 700,000 in January.
To be sure, 247,000 jobs lost in one month is both staggering and sobering and an indication that the economy is still struggling. Yet when you measure it against 700,000, it's abundantly clear that, like other leading economic indicators that have shown consistent improvement this year, the jobs market is nearing a bottom and according to most economists will likely begin to recover sometime next year. This is not only very good news for the economy and those looking for work, it's a feather in President Barack Obama's cap and a sign that his administration's stimulus plan is indeed working.
But do you think Republicans are giving the president any credit for this marked improvement in the economy? Fat chance. Typical of conservatives' reactions to the steady stream of positive news has been radio host Bill Bennett, who said on his program earlier this week: "Yes, the economy is beginning to turn around, but the stimulus package is not why."
Sure Bill, the economy is stimulated, but it's not because of the stimulus package. All of the economy's critical benchmark indicators are just turning around by themselves. The $3-trillion or so injected into the nation's financial framework has had zero impact, while America's magic fairy dust has been sprinkled over Wall Street, the housing and banking markets, corporate earnings and the jobs market. Gotta love that magic fairy dust....
Now we all know that Republicans would be screaming for Obama's head if at this point in time the economy had continued to slide deeper into recession; if the GDP continued to appreciably contract, if job losses mounted, if GM went under, if the housing market worsened, etc. Simply put, they so desperately want to claim failure for Obama and his stimulus plan, and no matter how positive things turn, or how bright the future outlook becomes, they will never credit him for reviving this abysmal economy that George W. Bush created during his miserably-failed eight-year administration. But in 2010 and 2012, voters will, and that's all that matters.