Despite Robust Economy Voters Fear

October 10, 2022

Sunshine and cool temps (comparatively speaking) this late-afternoon Monday here in California’s Central Valley, near to closing out another nice autumn day.

Despite some good numbers, the US economy revealed the wear-and-tear on itself, and even with the latest jobs report on Friday rippled the stock market with worries the Fed will step up — Joe Biden had to douse the flames some: ‘“This is the progress we need to see … In the short term, the transition to a more stable growth that continues to deliver for workers and families while bringing inflation down. In the long term, the economy built on a firmer foundation. We still have a lot of work to do. We’re building a different economy than before, a better one, a stronger one.”

Why Joe has done the work:

John Cassidy at The New Yorker last Friday deep-dives the numbers and the work shift good tidings:

Last month, according to the Labor Department’s payroll survey, over-all employment rose by two hundred and sixty-three thousand. While that figure was lower than the three hundred and fifteen thousand increase during August, it still represents healthy job growth in an economy where the unemployment rate now stands at just 3.5 per cent—tying the lowest figure for the past half a century. The U.S. economy has added, on average, half a million jobs per month since Biden took office. White House officials were quick to point out that this pace of job growth is unprecedented for the first half-term of a Presidency.

Even though there are still deeply rooted racial and educational fissures in the labor market, the jobs gains over the past twenty months have been widely spread. When Donald Trump left office, the unemployment rate among Hispanics was 8.6 per cent: last month, it hit an all-time low of 3.8 per cent. During the same period, the Black jobless rate has fallen from 9.2 per cent to 5.8 per cent. (The white unemployment rate is now 3.1 per cent.)

To be sure, these developments in the labor market need to be put into perspective. No prior President has taken office after a global pandemic that knocked the economy on its back and sent employment plummeting—between February and April of 2020, more than twenty million jobs were lost, and the unemployment rate rose to nearly fifteen per cent. Much of the strong employment growth we’ve seen over the past year and a half is a continuation of the rebound from that unprecedented shock. Still, maintaining and extending the recovery from the pandemic was far from guaranteed when Biden took office. In fact, the U.S. has had the most rapid recovery from the pandemic of any G7 country.

Maybe because Republicans flash too many shiny objects to smoke over the country’s economic well-being. Despite it all, we should be blasting it out.

Number crunch, yet here we are once again…

(Illustration out front: Pablo Picasso’s ‘Agonizing Horse,’ found here.)

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