A Jobs Sigh of Relief

A better stimulus plan: Have Congress adjourn until 2011.

The Wall Street Journal
December 5, 2009

The November jobs report was greeted yesterday with smiles and sighs of relief, which speaks volumes about how rotten the job market has been for a long time. Only 11,000 lost jobs! Praise heaven.

The report is hopeful if not yet happy news, in that it shows employment finally catching up with the economic recovery that has been building since the summer. Economic expansions always lead to some job creation, especially when the downturn and layoffs have been as steep as what the U.S. has endured in the last year.

The surprise so far has been how long it has taken the job market to come around—surprising especially to a White House that predicted a jobless rate peak of 8% if the $787 billion spending stimulus passed. President Obama called yesterday’s report the best since 2007, which is true but is also like saying that this is the most tasteful season so far of “Keeping Up with the Kardashians.”…

… If the stimulus spending has had any effect, it has been to preserve government jobs. Private hiring remains weak. Construction, manufacturing and business professionals are still shedding jobs…

…The news of a better job market couldn’t have come at a better time politically given that Congress seems ready to waste more money on more government job creation. The same folks who planned the last stimulus now want to spend a few hundred billion on public works jobs, more aid to states, and another round job of jobless benefits. In some states, workers can now get paid for 18 months for not working. This will give many of them an incentive to postpone a job search even as their hiring prospects improve.

Meanwhile, the White House is thinking about paying home owners to weatherize their homes. Cash for caulkers, we suppose. Now, that’ll put millions back to work…

The article continues at WSJ.
Printed in The Wall Street Journal, page A20

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