The jobs situation nationally is slowly improving, but is the pace fast enough to reward President Barack Obama with reelection?
The administration says January saw a net gain of 243,000 jobs, and 351,000 newly laid-off workers sought unemployment benefits last week, the fewest since March 2008. These encouraging signs come as the number of people receiving unemployment benefits fell to 7.5 million in the week ending Feb. 4, the latest numbers available, down from 7.7 million the week before.
But there’s a flip side. Unemployment still is 8.3 percent, meaning 12.8 million Americans who want to work don’t have jobs. Nearly half are “long-term” unemployed, meaning they have been out of work at least 27 weeks.
The president said three years ago that unemployment would not rise above 8 percent if his trillion-dollar stimulus were approved, but it has hovered above 8 percent every month since the stimulus became law in February 2009. The president predicted unemployment would be only 6 percent today…