Some Good Economic News To Power You Into The July 4th Weekend
We don’t usually write about the month-to-month jobs report numbers here at the Progress Report. But today, the U.S. economy got several doses of good news to leave us feeling like the country is on the right track as we head into the long July 4th weekend.
The economy added 288,000 jobs in June while the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, according to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of jobs outperformed analysts’ expectations by about 75,000, or 35 percent. And the current unemployment rate is now the lowest it has been since September 2008, when the financial crisis sent the economy plummeting downward.
But while these topline numbers are positive on their own, te longer term trends of the recovery are even better. Here are a few reasons why:
- This is the first time since the Clinton years (September 1999 – January 2000) that there has been total job growth above 200,000 for five straight months.
- In the first half of 2014, the economy has added 1.4 million jobs. That is the most in any first half of a year since 1999.
- This is the first time in recorded history that the U.S. has had 52 consecutive months of private sector job growth. The second longest streak was from February 1996 to April 2000.
Analysts have reacted positively to the news, too. Nate Silver’s 538 blog called the job market “the strongest it’s been since before the recession” and Politico’s chief economic correspondent said that spinning today’s news as bad “is an exercise in cherry picking and misinterpretation.” After the news, the stock market jumped. In fact, this morning the Dow Jones index hit 17,000 for the first time ever:
Undoubtedly, there is still more we can do to keep the economy on the right track and make sure that economic growth is felt by all Americans:
- For too many, wages are stagnant and have been that way for years.
- We need more people to come back into the labor market for it to be healthy again. For the 49th time in the past 50 months, more jobseekers gave up looking than found work.
- If Republicans in Congress fail to act this summer, transportation funding for projects to fix roads, bridges, and rails will run out and hundreds of thousands of jobs will be at risk.
- The long term unemployed continue to suffer–a critical reason why Congress must act to renew unemployment insurance for millions of Americans. While long term unemployment is decreasing meaningfully, it is still far out of wack when compared with previous recessions:
BOTTOM LINE: There is still much more that we can do to help our economic recovery. Congress needs to pass laws that help create an economy that works for all Americans, not just the wealthiest. But despite Republican obstruction, the American economy is on the right track. Today’s economic news is positive news for the country, and a reason to feel good this Fourth of July.