The news is all good for the jobs market so far in 2012: Separate reports Thursday showed a surge in private-sector job creation, a sharp drop in weekly unemployment claims and planned layoffs at their lowest level in six months.
Though the December data flowing in is sensitive to seasonal revisions, the trend is moving in the right direction.
Private-sector jobs surged by 325,000, according to ADP and Macroeconomic Advisors, while the government said weekly jobless claims fell 15,000 to 372,000 — still at an elevated level but consistent with recent data showing a consistent if grudging turnaround.
Goods-producing businesses created 176,000 positions in the month, according to ADP's payrolls count, while the goods-producing sector rose 52,000 and manufacturing increased 22,000.
Of course we aren't in the clear yet. Europe is still very much in trouble and a sudden collapse there will send world markets back into chaos, which will translate into layoffs again. Everything is tied to that global economy and we got to keep an eye on that.
But if we keep trending this way then jobs will become a smaller issue by the time we hit the general election. Even if unemployment is still around 7% by then, as long as it's moving down I doubt that voters would want to replace President Obama with someone else who might reverse that flow.
Basically out economy is still very fragile and can easily be sent back into chaos. Keeping the ripples out right now is very important and a change at Pennsylvania Avenue is a rather large ripple. Hopefully Democrats will seize on these numbers and show people that progress is being made on repairing the Bush economy that President Obama inherited, which was the worst economy since the Great Depression.