December jobs report ends 2015 on strong note

The Washington Post’s Paul Waldman writes, Guess what: Barack Obama has been a great president for job creation — and all the GOP candidates want to duplicate the policies of the worst president for job creation, George W. Bush.

Despite the Chaos in the Chinese stock market sending economic waves around the world this week, the Job Market Remains Strong Even as U.S. Economy Slows.

Steve Benen has the December jobs report. Job market wraps up 2015 on a very strong note:

Many economists predicted the U.S. job market would end 2015 on a strong note, but few expected it to be this strong.

DecemberJobs

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the U.S. economy added 292,000 jobs in December, well above projections. The overall unemployment rate remained at 5.0%, which is still the lowest it’s been since February 2008, nearly eight years ago.

Making matters even better, the revisions were also heartening: October’s job totals were revised up, from 298,000 to 307,000, while November’s totals were also revised up, from 211,000 to 252,000. Combined, that’s an additional 50,000 previously unreported jobs.

All things considered, this should be considered one of the best jobs reports of the year. Anyone rooting for the American economy should feel very good about this data.

Overall, the U.S. economy added 2.65 million jobs in 2015 — 2.55 million in the private sector alone — which in modern times represents a solid year for job growth. December was the 63rd consecutive month of positive job growth — the best stretch since 1939 — and the 70th consecutive month in which we’ve seen private-sector job growth, which is the longest on record.

Update: The job market fared quite well last year: “The number of Americans who applied for new unemployment benefits in 2015 fell to the lowest level in 42 years.”

Here’s another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.

DecemberPrivate

2015 was not quite as strong as 2014, but it was close — and the back-to-back performance matters. Even the right can’t deny job market’s hot streak:

Even looking at 2015 in isolation, the year saw better job growth than in any year of the Bush/Cheney era — or the Bush/Quayle era, for that matter. But when 2015 is combined with 2014, we see a job market on a two-year hot streak unmatched since 1998 and 1999.

Not too shabby.

Of course, there’s a political angle to this that’s worth broader consideration. Congressional Republicans and GOP presidential candidates believe with absolute certainty that many of President Obama’s domestic policy accomplishments — the Affordable Care Act, higher taxes on the wealthy, Wall Street regulations, et al — are crushing the economy and stifling the American job market.

Indeed, voters are hearing from a large field of far-right White House hopefuls who insist, literally every day, that the only way to create jobs in this country is to do the exact opposite of what President Obama has done.

And yet, here we are, with over 3 million jobs created in 2014, 2.65 million jobs in 2015, and an unemployment rate that’s been cut from 10% to 5% in fairly short order.

Why Americans would feel an urgent need to dramatically change economic direction is entirely unclear.

Never underestimate the power of human stupidity.” – Robert A. Heinlein.

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