Thanks Obama: Labor Day Weekend Brings More Excellent News About Jobs (IMAGES)

“Where are the jobs?” has been the cry of the Republican party almost since the day President Obama took office. The answer is, “They’re here!” as Labor Day weekend brings with it more encouraging news about jobs and employment.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics has issued their monthly report on employment and the news continues to be good. The unemployment rate edged down a bit in August, to 5.1 percent. Non-farm payroll employment increased by 173,000. This brings the country to 66 consecutive months of private sector job growth; no thanks to Republicans.

One of the sectors that continues to show job growth is health care, no doubt, at least in part, due to the Affordable Care Act, which Republicans called the “job killing health care law.” As former Texas governor Rick Perry might say: “oops.”

But as good as all of that news is, it gets even better. Bloomberg reports that the job market hit a milestone in August, with there now being more full-time jobs than there were just prior to the start of the recession. According to the Bloomberg story, the number of people working at least 35 hours a week reached 122 million, topping the previous peak that occurred in November 2007. In addition, part-time jobs fell to their lowest level since 2011, destroying another myth about the effect Obamacare would have on full-time vs. part-time work.

via Bloomberg

via Bloomberg

Also on the good news front, Gallup says that their “job creation index” has been at a record high for four months in a row. The polling company began tracking job creation just after the start of the “Great Recession.” For the measure, they ask a sample of full and part-time workers whether the company where they work is hiring, laying off, or maintaining their current workforce. In August, 44 percent of respondents said that their company was hiring, with only 12 percent saying that their employer was letting people go. Gallup says that the continuing record high in this index means that the U.S. job market is better than it has been at any time in the last seven years. They say it also means that recent swings in the stock market are having little effect on employment.

via Gallup

via Gallup

Republicans can take no credit for the good news on jobs.

So what have Republicans done to help? Almost nothing. In addition to the examples mentioned above about the Affordable Care Act, Republicans in Congress have refused to help workers by increasing the federal minimum wage. They also continue to show that they have no clue about what a real jobs bill looks like, or more likely, they just don’t give a damn about passing one.

Last January, the Christian Science Monitor took a look at some of the bills that Republicans were touting as “jobs bills,” and found that claim to be questionable. The first was the Keystone Pipeline. The GOP kept insisting that the project would create up to 42,000 jobs, but an analysis said that the actual number was about one-tenth of that and those jobs would only exist for about a year.

The “Hire More Heroes Act,” intended to encourage businesses to hire veterans, passed with a huge bipartisan majority. But it appears to be more of a backdoor attack on Obamacare than a jobs bill. One of the provisions of the act allows employers who hire veterans who already have health insurance to not count those veterans as employees. This would allow businesses to skirt the provision in the law that requires businesses with at least 50 employees to provide access to health insurance. Analysts say that this bill would actually help very few people get jobs.

The third Republican “jobs” proposal also centers around Obamacare. Republicans passed the “Save American Workers Act” which redefines “full-time employment” to 40 hours per week. This was merely an attempt to help more employers avoid the Affordable Care Act’s insurance mandate for businesses with more than 50 full-time workers. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office concluded that up to a million workers would lose health insurance under this proposal. And as you can imagine, it does nothing for jobs, other than potentially hurt workers who already have jobs. The White House announced that it would veto the bill almost as soon as it was proposed.

So we’re making progress, thanks to the president and no thanks to Republicans. The latest data on jobs indicates that the country is headed in the right direction. How quickly and how much things improve depends on whether Republicans decide to get with the program, or continue wasting their time and our money on things like Benghazi hearings. At this point, we already know what they’re going to do.

Featured image via Andreas Klinke Johannsen/Flickr