As they do on the first Friday of the month, the BLS - the Bureau of Labor Statistics - released the jobs numbers for July (what we used to call the bikini graph). Thankfully, this month's numbers are good - in fact, they're better than expected.
For the month of July, payrolls increased by 163,000 new jobs - nearly double the number of jobs economists thought the economy would add. Including the July gain, the U.S. has now recovered over half of the 8.8 million jobs lost due to the Bush Recession.
In fact, the private sector added 172,000 jobs in July, but the public sector - government - was cut by 9000 jobs, over a third of which were postal service jobs.
Overall, the jobs report for the month of July was a mixed bag, if looked at by itself. President Obama came right out and praised the sucesses, but fully agreed that we've all got more work to do to get Americans employed again.
Still, if you look at the long term picture, in the last 29 months of consecutive job growth, the economy has added back 4.5 million jobs, mostly in the private sector. In fact, Steve Benen's in-depth review of the jobs numbers over the last decade answers the key question some political pundits still have: "Are we better off than we were in 2009?"
The facts make the answer clear: "Yes, we ARE better off after three-and-a-half-years of Barack Obama."