The best news for the economy in a long time
The Great Recession may be technically over for the economists -- GDP is rising again, which means the decline in economic output that defines recessions has stopped, at least temporarily. But it won't feel like it's over to Americans until the country starts adding jobs again. That hasn't happened yet, but today's jobs report from the Labor Department shows the next best thing: We've stopped losing jobs, at least for one month.
Analysts had projected the November jobs report to show that the economy had shed employment by more than 100,000 jobs for the 22nd month in a row. They were wrong. Today's report shows that the economy lost only 11,000 jobs last month, which is statistically nothing. And previously announced job losses for October and September were substantially revised, for the better. October job loss was not 190,000, as announced a month ago, but 111,000. The economy lost 139,000 jobs in September, not 219,000 a previously announced.
The unemployment rate even dipped a little bit, from 10.2 percent in October to 10 percent.
Make no mistake: The economy is still terrible and will be bad for many months. We're not adding jobs yet. But today's report is the single best piece of economic news we've had for a long time. And it suggests that the policy responses by the Bush administration and the Obama administration -- big-bank rescues, unprecedented monetary stimulus, almost $800 billion in fiscal stimulus -- are working.