The economy is feeling much better, thanks

Things felt pretty bad for much of '08 and '09.

Everyone from the WSJ to the NYT is reporting on the recession’s improved health. Some outlets have even (jokingly) credited Obama with being magically responsible for the economy’s path to recovery.

In the best report since the recession began two years ago, only 11,000 jobs disappeared last month, the government said on Friday, and the unemployment rate actually dipped, to 10 percent, from 10.2 percent the previous month.

Although 15.4 million people are struggling to find work, the November report revealed signs of improvement across the country. More than 50,000 temporary workers were hired, the first surge in months and often a precursor to companies hiring permanent workers. Employees worked more hours, even in manufacturing.

And, reflecting the increased hours, the average weekly wage for most of the nation’s workers rose by nearly two-thirds of a percentage point in a single month, to $622.

Adding to the positive signs, a broad measure of unemployment — one that includes those forced to work only part time and those too discouraged to look for work — fell to 17.2 percent, from 17.5 percent in October, the first decline in several months. In addition, job losses in September and October turned out to be far less than previously reported: 250,000 instead of 409,000.

Here’s hoping for more of the same.


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