According to employment statistics from the Labor Department, the jobless rate in the United States has been dropping steadily since August, and the economy added 227,000 jobs last month, making February the third straight month of job gains over 200,000. Likewise, civilian labor force participation, the number of people working or looking for a job as a percentage of the entire working-age population, grew by 0.2 percent in February—the largest single-month jump since 2010, albeit a modest one. Manufacturing and temporary employment also grew in February, indications that may signal continued improvement.
The Obama administration has heralded the good economic news as being a result of the president’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, but many still believe that the president’s policies have failed. The economy lost jobs in government and construction last month, and unemployment remains disproportionately high among blacks, Hispanics, and young people. Obama’s critics point toward rising gas prices and a still historically bad unemployment rate as signs that Obama could be doing a better job on the economy.
Is Obama turning the economy around? Here’s the Debate Club’s take:
David Primo Author of 'Rules and Restraint: Government Spending the Design of Institutions'
William W. Beach Director of the Center for Data Analysis at The Heritage Foundation
Heather Boushey Senior Economist at the Center for American Progress