Can We Admit The Economy Is Doing Better Now?

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​The Washington Post with a point that, in our view, hasn't been made enough in recent months:

For six straight months, the U.S. economy has added more than 200,000 jobs, according to government data released Friday morning, the longest streak since the mid-'90s. [Pols emphasis]

The Labor Department reported 209,000 net new jobs were created in July, though the unemployment rate edged up slightly to 6.2 percent as more workers joined the labor force. The report was the latest in a string of upbeat data suggesting the country’s economic recovery has shifted into the next gear.

Industries with the strongest hiring were professional and business services, as well as manufacturing and construction. That dovetailed with a private estimate of job growth earlier this week indicating broad-based improvement in the labor market. That analysis, by human resources firm ADP, showed both larger corporations and smaller businesses were adding workers.

“There was some meat on the bones," said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Mesirow Financial. "This wasn’t just temporary hires.”

By no means are economic conditions perfect, if they ever are in a free market economy–there are still lots of underemployed workers, and there are still several million long-term "structurally unemployed" Americans who haven't found a way forward in the new economy. A big stock selloff last week caused in part by foreign policy crises reminds us that our prosperity doesn't exist in a vacuum. But it's worth acknowledging that the last six months of 200,000+ per month job growth is the longest stretch of growth that high since 1997–the fabled Clinton years, which so many Americans look back on nostalgically as the last great economic boom time.

So why aren't we hearing more about the economy showing not just "recovery," but real strength for the first time since the Great Recession? That's simple: it's an election year. To admit that the economy is turning bullish would be to admit things that Republicans simply cannot admit right now. It would mean admitting that Obamacare did not plunge the economy into a new dark age after all. It would mean admitting that Obama's "mountain of new regulations" are not choking the life out of American business.

This development also could really screw up the media's pre-written narrative about the upcoming elections–you know, the one where Democrats take a beating because, well, obviously! For all of these reasons, this is not a growing economy that anyone should feel good about…until the second week of November. Of course, if Republicans do triumph in this year's midterms, the economic growth now underway and fully expected to continue through the end of the year and beyond will suddenly have enormous political import.

As always, we would welcome the most accurate narrative, sooner rather than later. Surprise us.

24 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. bullshit!bullshit! says:

    Silly Pols, only Republicans are allowed to trash the economy for political advantage.


    The trolls

  2. BlueCatBlueCat says:

    "So why aren't we hearing more about the economy showing not just "recovery," but real strength for the first time since the Great Recession?"

    For the same reason the media calls BWB a moderate? 

    • FrankUnderwood says:

      Because the only thing that matters is Obamacare, obamacare and obamacare.

      • VoyageurVoyageur says:

        Benghazi!  The only thing that matters is Benghazi!!!!!!!!!!!!

        • FrankUnderwood says:

          Oh yes, that too….. The nice thing about Benghazi is that it is a two-fer:  they can bash both Obama and HRC in one stroke!

          • Curmudgeon says:

            And don't forget, they can cry their crocodile tears over the loss of "our boys" (I actually heard a grocery checker say this, like it was Dubya-Dubya Two or something….man, how they love their fallen heroes…the wounded ones, not so much). 

            • langelomisteriosolangelomisterioso says:

              Well dead you can just throw some dirt on them and forget them. You can't however photograph their flag-draped coffins as they transit through Dover AFB. Wounded however means you're sort of obligated to take care of them which translates into allocating money and other resources to the task.

              • Curmudgeon says:

                Yup. Dead means a finite expense. Insurance money, final expenses, flag, gold star, etc etc… but then they're done, and can still be useful as propaganda tools. With fallen heroes, the Armchair Generals can salute and wipe away a tear and feel like they're part of a real war, like in the movies…   but the service members who were inconsiderate enough to actually make it back alive, they're a drain on the taxpayer.   

                That last bit isn't really a partisan thing, though…that's been the way this country has treated the members of its military for far too long. 

                • langelomisteriosolangelomisterioso says:

                  Especially if they're so inconsiderate as to make it back alive but damaged.I've never agreed with Rudyard Kipling on much  but his bit of doggerel entitled Tommy Atkins  explains it all pretty well.

        • BlueCatBlueCat says:

          Both seem to be out of steam. Regardless of the attitude toward Obamacare or Benghazi, polls aren't showing voters ranking them as their big priorities.  Of course the voting public has an attention span that mimics a fruit fly's life span. Lots more stuff can happen and fall off the radar between now and the vote.

    • Andrew Carnegie says:

      Because there are over 11,000,000 more people unemployed now than when dear leader took office.

      • Curmudgeon says:

        Oh, look, it's Captain Half-Ass, with his daily non-fact.  

      • denverco says:

        Let's see a real fact from you just once – and not a link to some right wing fantasy blog – factual evidence that this is the one time that you aren't caught in another one of your lies – oh that's right you can't.

        • Curmudgeon says:

          Today's GOP has an adversarial relationship with the truth. It's understandable, since the truth never works in their favor. 

          • BlueCatBlueCat says:


            Rove always knew that reality has a liberal bias. That's why the core of his strategy was… to hell with the reality based world. We create our own reality. It clearly came as a profound shock to him when that didn't work for pretend electing Mittens and even Fox actually recognized liberal biased fact based reality in calling the election for reality based winner, Obama.

            • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

              There is an alternative theory – Thom Hartmann and others reported that Rove was so confident about Ohio because he knew that his hackers had "fixed" Ohio for Romney – only to be blocked by "Anonymous" hackers.

              It would explain his meltdown.

              • BlueCatBlueCat says:

                Yep, I've heard that one. The I can't believe he lost it 'cause we fixed it melt down. There's more than one way to create your own reality. Both failed Rove and the Rs in 2012.

      • Comparing the U6 unemployment rate and population from the census: Jan. 2009 to Jul. 2014 (this is the "worst-case" scenario for Obama – he wasn't in office until late Jan. 2009, the U6 shows more unemployed than the "standard" U3, the U6 grew 1% in that month alone, and there were fewer discouraged workers that early on in the recession):

        1/2009 Population: 234,739,000; U6: 14.2% = 33,332,938 unemployed

        7/2014 Population: 248,023,000; U6: 12.2% = 30,258,806 unemployed

        Lower total unemployment, lower percentage, and higher number of people with jobs – combined with the longest 200,000+ jobs per month growth since Clinton was President.

        • The only set of stats that might match your description would be the ShadowStats unemployment figures which include their best guesstimate on "long-term discouraged workers". While I like ShadowStats generally, there are a lot of unanswered questions on just what those "long-term discouraged workers" are actually doing with their lives. Republicans point to this category of people and say they're out starting their own businesses, or that they're women gone home to have families, or – well, it's hard to say what they're doing, and ShadowStats doesn't have any better idea than anyone else.

  3. OrangeFreeOrangeFree says:

    Remember Pols, when the economy is doing well, it because of the indomitable entrepreneurial spirit of the American job creator and not because of anything Democrats have done. 

    Of course, when the economy is doing bad, it's totes because of those over-regulatin', over-taxin' socialist Democrats and their fascists social programs.  

  4. DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

    You see, the economy isn't doing better enough, and it's because the president is only half white.

  5. JBJK16 says:


    The Gini coefficient is too high.

    Patent lawyers suppress innovation for the benefit of foreign investors.

    Health insurance and college are still trending too close to 20% annual inflation.

    Wages are stagnant or declining for most wage earners.

    Sure, the stock markets are up. So what? Good for Zuckerberg and Dimon. 

    Where is the opportunity?

    Dodd-Frank ain't no Glass Stegall, and it's been watered down. We will never know all the debt the Fed loaded up on, and interest rates have been so low so long…where's the inflation?

    Housing starts used to be a great measure.  Why not now?

    The Big 3 are a ghost, the pensions are all headed toPBGC and there is no water inToledo, So California or Lake Mead.

    infrastructure is archaic, the real Carnegie and his peeres gave away all those librarie and built the country, the Walton's and their peers are useless.


    i didn't  blame Obama in 08/09, and I don't blame him now.  But no, the economy is a cardboard box.


    • Urban Snowshoer says:

      JBJK16 wrote: “Housing starts used to be a great measure.  Why not now?”

      The short answer is that the housing market isn't what it used to be–it's being distorted.

      Individual investors and hedge funds have gotten into the housing market and often make all cash offers. If you’re looking to buy  a home to put roots down, and raise a family, you’ll be locked out of the housing market right now, unless you can pay all cash.   

    • CaninesCanines says:

      As musical performer Kinky Friedman once said, "My last album went Cardboard in Canada."

      And that's cardboard-colored cardboard–not rose.

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