For most of President Obama’s first term, one of the more common Republican talking points focused on the overall unemployment rate: it was stuck above 8%, a fact they blamed on the president who inherited a global economic crisis.
You may have noticed that this GOP talking point has since vanished.
As of today, the unemployment rate is down to 7.5%, which is not only the lowest point of the Obama presidency, but also the lowest since late 2008. It’s dropped a full point in the last year and a half, a 2.5 points since its October 2010 high.
It’s also one of the fastest improvements in the jobless rate in the last 30 years.
As we’ve discussed before, this isn’t my favorite metric for the health of the jobs market, but it seems to be the metric that dominates the public consciousness and political conversation, so it’s probably worth paying attention to.
Incidentally, the other main Republican talking point on jobs for much of Obama’s first term was that the net total of jobs gained on the president’s watch is zero. It was always a ridiculous argument – it was predicated on the assumption that Obama deserved the blame for the jobs lost a couple of weeks after his inauguration – but it looks even sillier now. To date, the net gain for jobs under Obama is over 1.5 million overall and over 2.2 million in the private sector.