Saturday, February 04, 2012

Good Job

The job numbers released on Friday were uniformly good news for the economy.  Employment was revised upward for November and December, and January saw the addition of 243,000 jobs and another drop in the unemployment rate to 8.3%.

This led to the highest stock market total since before the Great Recession began in 2008, and the highest NASDAQ (tech stocks) in 11 years, since 2000.

At the Washington Post Ezra Klein concluded: "The bottom line is that this isn’t just a good jobs report. It’s a recovery jobs report. It’s showing the sort of numbers that win elections."

Rightward Politico quotes a banker: "We appear finally to be in an economy where hiring begets spending, which begets corporate profits, which begets hiring. That’s the virtuous cycle we need.”

 All the internals of the jobs report were good, as jobs were added in all sectors. Though President Obama warned that these numbers "will go up and down" in the coming months, he challenged Congress to feed the recovery and don't "muck it up."  That certainly means passing the middle class tax cut extension and it also means other programs such as the ones for returning veterans
he announced Friday.

Whenever there was an economic downturn, my father would say the same thing: they oughta revive the CCC.  In his 20s he worked in the Civil Conservation Corps and its successor, as the Great Depression met World War II.  Now after all these years he may get his wish: President Obama has proposed a new CCC of sorts, but brilliantly--in political as well as economic terms--he's made it for veterans.  Plus other proposals involve supporting local firefighters (as in Arlington VA, where he spoke on Friday) and others who are endangered by state and local budget cutbacks.  Here's the White House release on the subject:

"First, President Obama is working to help state and local communities hire veterans to work as first responders. The administration will make available $166 million in 2012 Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Hiring Grant funding and $320 million in 2012 Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grants and award that money with a preference to communities that recruit and hire post-9/11 veterans. The President's budget for the 2013 fiscal year will include additional $5 billion for these grant programs.

Second, the President is working to develop a Veterans Job Corps conservation program that will put up to 20,000 veterans to work over the next five years. They'll work to restore habitats, eradicate invasive species, maintain public lands, and operate public facilities.

Third, President Obama wants to expand entrepreneurship training opportunities for service members and veterans. Back in August, the Administration established a two-day course in entrepreneurship as part of the Transition Assistance Program with the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, along with the Small Business Administration. The SBA also offers an eight week online training program that will teach the fundamentals of small business ownership to more than 10,000 veterans every year."

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