By now, you’ve probably seen or heard Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s declaration that, “Today is a big day in America. Only 36,000 people lost their jobs today, which is really good.”
As I noted earlier, from a sober economic standpoint, there are reasons to be encouraged by February’s job report in the sense that the losses were lower than expected and the economy no longer appears to be shedding jobs at a rapid clip. That said, it’s also true that the job market is still really weak and businesses have not started hiring again. We can debate what the numbers mean going forward. But from a political standpoint, it’s incredibly tone deaf, even by Reid standards, to declare 36,000 job losses a “big day” and “really good.” Democrats hammered the Bush administration for a “jobless recovery” and attacked him on the employment picture even as the economy added jobs. Reid’s comment is a gift to Republicans along the lines of when John McCain bestowed candidate Obama with the statement that “the fundamentals of the economy are strong.”
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