The nation reached something of a milestone last week when the government released data showing that the country added 288,000 jobs in April, a statistic that enabled the unemployment rate to plunge to 6.3 percent.
That marked the lowest level of unemployment since 2008, not to mention a drop in the level of joblessness for African-Americans. It is a great achievement for the nation’s economy, occurring in the midst of the second term of President Obama.
The president has maintained that climbing out of the crippling recession that plagued the country before he first took office would take some time. And though the improvement in the economy remains elusive to far too many Americans, the recent figures indicate that the economy has been picking up steam. Businesses have been adding workers to their payrolls in a wide group of industries, from construction and retail to business services.
However, you’d never know it by listening to Republican politicians, who are steadfast in their determination to deny the president credit for anything.
In fact, one leading Republican-leaning publication referred to the unemployment statistics with a headline stating: “Obama's fake Unemployment rate falls to 6.3 percent.”
The reality is that Republicans – particularly those in Congress – have little to no passion for taking any steps to reduce unemployment. Had they focused on a far-reaching and effective job creation plan, the jobless rate would have plummeted to April’s level long ago. Instead, they have stood in the doorway of any reasonable program advanced by the White House.
Although there are many factors that affect the rate of unemployment, including the number of people who have removed themselves from consideration for seeking jobs, it should be difficult for even the most cynical Republican elected official to not give the president some credit for the improved economy, much as they assigned blame to his predecessor, George Bush, for the horrendous economic scenario that led to Obama’s victory in 2008.
Whether he gets credit or not from his Republican colleagues, President Obama has earned a significant victory for seeing the nation’s economy to the point of reaching such an unemployment level. It was the brightest report on unemployment in roughly two years. One can only hope that the rest of nation remembers the policies he and his fellow Democrats have championed when they go to the polls in November.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
Follow Jonathan Hicks on Twitter: @HicksJonathan
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