Ahead of the 2012 election, the conservative movement has made a concerted effort to undersell the economic recovery. Ads run by conservative outside groups regularly remark on lost jobs and paint a dismal economic picture. Mitt Romney brushed aside a report that over 170,000 new jobs were created in October to proclaim that the economy “is at a virtual standstill.” Yet there is widespread evidence against the idea that the economy has stalled or worsened during President Obama’s tenure. Where headlines in 2008 and early 2009 proclaimed job losses, a crashing housing market, and a contracting economy, the news in late 2012 is hopeful: 171,000 jobs were added in October, the 32nd straight month of private-sector growth; home prices are up while foreclosures are down; the economy is once again expanding; and consumer confidence is at its highest level since February 2008.
November 2008: “240,000 Jobs Disappeared” As “Unemployment Rate Jumped To The Highest Level In 14 Years.” According to the New York Times: “In a sign that American workers may face even more difficult times for many months to come, the nation’s unemployment rate last month jumped to the highest level in 14 years as job losses mounted. Gloomy enough was word from the government on Friday that a fresh 240,000 American jobs disappeared in October, the 10th consecutive month of retrenchment. It brought the toll of lost jobs to 1.2 million for the year — more than half in the last three months alone — while the unemployment rate climbed to 6.5 percent. Worse was the sense that little could be done near term to alter this now-accelerating trajectory.” [New York Times via Nexis, 11/8/08]
November 2012: Better-Than-Expected 171,000 New Jobs In “Just About Every Industry.” According to the New York Times: “The nation’s employers added 171,000 positions in October, the Labor Department reported on Friday, and more jobs than initially estimated in both August and September. Hiring was broad-based, with just about every industry except state government adding jobs.” [New York Times, 11/2/12]
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