We've still got a lot of work to do in order to get our economy right, and especially to get our employment situation right. We need to create a hell of a lot more jobs. But I'm very happy to see the numbers coming out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics today:

The number of Americans filing claims for jobless benefits unexpectedly dropped last week to the lowest level in more than five years, a signal employers are confident enough in the economic outlook to hold onto workers.

(snip) The four-week moving average of claims, a less-volatile measure, dropped to 336,750, the lowest level since November 2007. The worst recession since the Great Depression began the following month and ended in June 2009.

Let's be clear. The sequester is still: a) a drag on the economy, and b) taking away needed government services, and it needs to be ended.

This doesn't mean "austerity is working." Far from it. Dean Baker has made that point in an excellent piece here:

If we want to have a real impact on unemployment in the near future, the government will have to take action. The calls for patience on this issue are truly infuriating. Invariably such calls come from people who have jobs, generally very well paying jobs.

The prolonged periods of unemployment that millions are enduring are in fact a crisis for the people affected. They are ruining the lives of the unemployed and their families.

I'm just happy to see the job situation continue to improve from where it was when Obama took office. In political terms, let's also keep in mind that the better the job numbers, the stronger position the President is in right now in his negotiations with Republicans, and the better position Democrats will be in for the mid-terms. So, let's take a second to be happy about these numbers, without forgetting that they need to get even better, and then get back to work.


PS-Please check out my new book Obama's America: A Transformative Vision of Our National Identity, published by Potomac Books, where I discuss Barack Obama's ideas on racial, ethnic, and national identity in detail, and contrast his inclusive vision to language coming from Mitt Romney, Rush Limbaugh and (some) others on the right. You can read a review by DailyKos's own Greg Dworkin here.

Originally posted to Ian Reifowitz on Thu May 09, 2013 at 05:53 AM PDT.

Also republished by Income Inequality Kos.

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