The Latest Employment Report: Better Than Not Good

The November employment report is out, on its normal date, and it was slightly better than expected. With 203,000 jobs added it was hailed in a Bloomberg article as a strong report, a sign that the economy is picking up and that consumers are going to be able to spend more.

In my opinion, we can’t treat 200,000 jobs added as the new 300,000 benchmark for a recovering economy. At most, I can say that we are stuck in traffic on the freeway but we just got to shift from second to third gear. It is a relief, that’s for sure, and perhaps a sign that it will clear up soon. As I try to look ahead I see another budget negotiation and I don’t trust the people who were stupid in October not to do something silly in January.

The good news is that the budget deficit is shrinking and it will continue to shrink if the economy improves. Eventually, the calls for austerity will begin to wane and the roadblocks will become fewer and farther between. I now hope that we will see 300,000 jobs added sometime in 2014. I have been waiting so long for that that I don’t even remember how it feels.

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