The U.S. unemployment rate fell last month to its lowest percentage in almost three years, continuing a sharp drop in unemployment late this fall with a current rate of 8.6 percent.
It's an additional 0.4 percent less unemployment than on October, and the lowest it's been since March 2009, two and a half years ago.
This drop in unemployment comes at a good time for President Obama, as continuing economic woes had made some voters antagonistic towards the incumbent president.
Job Creation as Unemployment Drops
The Labor Department said Dec. 2 that although roughly 13.3 million Americans are still unemployed, a significant amount had spent October finding jobs or were no longer considered unemployed.
Federal employers added 120,000 jobs this week, according to The Huffington Post, and the two months before that saw 72,000 jobs created. This is the fourth straight month that the government's push for job creation has seen significant decreases in the U.S. unemployment rate.
Private employers contributed another 140,000 jobs in November. More than half of them in retail, bars or the restaurant business, but a significant amount were also in the professional and business sectors, especially in engineering, accounting and high-tech professions.
Not all figures involved job creation. In addition to all the positions added by the government, nearly half a million jobs have been downsized, with 20,000 positions shed at the state and local level this month. Too, some of those surveyed are likely still without jobs but have applied for disability pay or simply stopped looking.
Nonetheless, these figures are among the most optimistic news about the U.S. economy in months.
Employment Will Help Obama's Re-Election
Ian Shepherd son, an economist at High Frequency Economics, said the steadily rising employment rates are an excellent sign for American businesses, and is confident the unemployment rate will continue its sharp decline.
Something good is stirring in the U.S. economy, he said in a note to clients.
If the trend continues, it will be a good sign for President Obama's re-election, too.
As the Republican party struggles to choose a candidate to face off against the incumbent, many of the GOP frontrunners have used the global financial crisis to damage the president's credibility as a leader. With the U.S.'s recent economic gains, it's likely those attacks will be far less effective with undecided voters.
A sharp dip in unemployment isn't a complete picture of the U.S. economy. Even with the recent leaps and bounds, the economy is still crippled by the recession of the late Bush and early Obama years.
In 2008, employers cut roughly 8.7 million jobs, and the economy has only slowly regained about 2.5 million of them back.
Still, the news is overwhelmingly positive. Over the fall, America has seen an average of 143,000 jobs added per month, up from an average of 84,000 over the summer.
Perhaps the best indication of a burgeoning economic growth, however, is the faith of consumers in their economy, something that was demontrated beyond a doubt in this year's record-breaking Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Shoppers swarmed retailers the week of Thanksgiving, and in an unexpected twist, car sales rose as well, an unusual event any year during the usually lackluster period of late October-early November. Chrysler, Ford, Nisson and Hyundai all reported gains in the double-digits compared to last year.
FDR or Herbert Hoover?
If Americans are buying out stores and getting back jobs, it seems the U.S. economy is finally getting on the right track. That's good news for President Obama, who will see some of the most rapid job growth of any president during his first term.
If the market flounders in 2012, however, Obama will go from a president who brought the country back back Bush's recession to a commander-in-chief with one of the highest unemployment rates under his term since pre-WWII U.S.
It's all a question of whether Obama will end up a Franklin Delano Roosevelt or a Herbert Hoover. And it's a question both consumers and voters will await with bated breath.