Good jobs news: But employment still needs the candidates' attention
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All Americans can be pleased at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' report Friday that the economy created 114,000 new jobs in September, that it had created 86,000 more jobs in July and August than previously reported and that the unemployment rate had dropped from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September.
But before declaring the Great Recession over, it is important to note that some 12.1 million Americans are still unemployed, millions more remain underemployed and work jobs below their skill level, and many have simply stopped looking for work and have retreated to education or job training or simply given up the search.
Despite the need for action on employment neither presidential candidate has presented to voters a short-term jobs creation plan.
All of that said, everyone, including our sometimes Cassandra-like presidential candidates, should be pleased with the new figures. It is hard not to be happy about Americans going back to work. President Barack Obama's Democrats should feel good. Mitt Romney's Republicans dare not express unhappiness, even if they would have preferred more evidence in the figures of what they consider Mr. Obama's feckless guidance of the economy.
The state of the economy in the overall global context presents a more gloomy picture than the U.S. figures alone. The unemployment rate in the eurozone, a very important and very troubled American trading partner, hit a new high of 11.4 percent on Oct. 1.
A storm still rages in Europe over the budget and debt situation in many countries, especially Greece and Spain but also Greek Cyprus, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Slovenia. The red lights continue to flash in spite of significant efforts by the European Central Bank to stabilize the situation by promising to buy bonds of shaky countries. People in Greece and Spain are demonstrating to protest efforts by their governments to put their fiscal houses in order to be able to qualify for ECB bailouts. The Germans remain more or less on board with the effort but are becoming increasingly resentful. Even China is reportedly weaving a little on the economic highway.
In general, Americans should be pleased and should build on this encouraging report on job creation, which is still the key issue in the presidential campaign.
First Published October 6, 2012 12:00 am