Friday, June 02, 2006

The Economy, In Rosy Hues

Apart from demonizing immigrants and gay people who want to get married, Republicans have little to get excited about these days. But that doesn't mean they're going to stop trying. The top headline on Drudge right now is the cryptic "4.6%", which is the May jobless rate, down from 4.7% in April. Sounds like good news, and it is. But it's not the whole story.

Drudge's link points to a CBS News story with the following headline: "Unemployment Dips, But Hiring Slows." The good unemployment percentage (the best since the summer of 2001) is what Drudge chooses to focus on. What he doesn't mention is that only 75,000 new jobs were generated, which is the worst performance in seven months. CBS News says the Labor Department report presents a "mixed picture of the jobs climate."

An AP report on the economy casts the situation in an even dimmer light, saying that the "U.S. economy appears to be shifting into a lower gear." This assessment is based on wage inflation numbers, residential home market data and several manufacturing indices.

The overall picture is by no means grim, but it's nothing to crow about either. There seems to be an emerging philosophy on the right: if it's not a total disaster, it's a victory. And sometimes even the disasters are victories. Hey, I think we just turned another corner in Iraq.
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