On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the national unemployment rate had dipped to 5.5 percent, the lowest rate since May of 2008. While that economic success story was mostly ignored by FOX News, it is nevertheless, a promising sign that the nation is experiencing a financial recovery. As President Obama reminded us during his State of the Union Address, “that’s good news people”.
However, the good news doesn’t stop there. The 58 consecutive months of job growth is a big deal, but what may be even more impressive, is that the recovery has touched the entire country. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics released its annual unemployment numbers for 2014. Every single one of the 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, saw their unemployment rate drop from 2013 to 2014. That’s good news, people.
Barack Obama’s home state of Illinois saw the sharpest dip in unemployment. The state’s jobless rate fell from 9.1 percent in 2013 to 7.1 in 2014. The next largest drops occurred in the swing states of Colorado, North Carolina, and Ohio, where the unemployment rate fell 1.8 percentage points. Nationally, the jobless rate went from 7.4 percent in 2013, to 6.2 percent in 2014.
The last time all 50 states and the District of Columbia saw their unemployment rate fall in the same year, was thirty years ago, in 1984. Not surprisingly, in the 1984 November election, then President Ronald Reagan (R), cruised to a landslide 59-41 victory over Democrat Walter Mondale, carrying 49 states. Even many Democratic voters opted to stay the course, and re-elect Reagan, rewarding him for presiding over an improving economy.
While Barack Obama is not running for election again, having already won twice, it is still telling that today’s opposition party refuses to acknowledge his accomplishments. Republicans have spent the first couple months of 2015 trying to downplay any positive economic news. In February, House Speaker John Boehner dismissed a drop in the jobless rate, by saying “millions are still struggling and searching for a good job”. Budget slashing Congressman and failed Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan moaned that the recovery was “too fragile for far too many”.
Sure, some Americans are still struggling. However, Republicans insist on seeing the glass as half empty, not out of concern for the unemployed, but because their political agenda is to undermine President Obama. For that reason, they refuse to acknowledge that good news is even possible while Obama is in the White House. However, the truth is inescapable. The Obama recovery is in full swing, and America is working again.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.