Following up on the earlier item, the economy added far more jobs in November than expected, offering some good economic news against the discouraging backdrop in Washington. And while the monthly totals are arguably the most important jobs metric, I also wanted to note the steady drop in the overall unemployment rate.
The new jobless rate of 7.7% is the lowest in four years, and clearly the lowest since President Obama took office. It's also dropped a full point in just the last year, going from 8.7% in November 2011 to 7.7% in November 2012.
All of this progress can end quickly, and will almost certainly reverse course if congressional Republicans force austerity measures through the fiscal negotiations. For that matter, another debt-ceiling crisis forced by GOP lawmakers would take a severe toll on job creation, just as it did in the summer of 2011.
For now, however, the improvements are generally heartening.