Trending Upward

Alan B. Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers:

Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

That downturn was the recession that began in December 2007 and lasted until June 2009. President Obama was inaugurated in January 2009. Prior to the report, some said the policies invoked by President Obama to improve the downturn were failed.

The report continues:

Private sector payrolls increased by 212,000 jobs and overall payroll employment rose by 200,000 jobs in December. The unemployment rate fell 0.2 percentage point to 8.5 percent, the lowest level since February 2009. The drop in unemployment over the month was mostly due to employment growth, not lower labor force participation. The unemployment rate has fallen by 0.9 percentage point in the last 12 months. Despite adverse shocks that have created headwinds for economic growth, the economy has added private sector jobs for 22 straight months, for a total of 3.2 million payroll jobs over that period. In the last 12 months, 1.9 million private sector jobs were added on net, more than in any year since 2005. Nonetheless, we need faster growth to put even more Americans back to work.

After the report was released today, the goalposts unsurprisingly shifted.

No matter your political affiliation, check out the chart in the report and notice the trend since President Obama assumed office in January 2009. Keep in mind that the recession started over one year prior to, and lasted 6 months into his Presidency. Are things perfect now? Certainly not. However, an intellectually honest person would acknowledge that recessions and their long- term repercussions don’t begin or end overnight. This trend should leave many cautiously optimistic about the country’s economic health.