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Money Minute: On jobs, doing the best that we can [Video]

April 06, 2012|By David Lazarus

Do the latest jobs numbers show the economy is healing or hurting? Depends who you ask.

The Labor Department says 120,000 jobs were added in March. The unemployment rate dropped slightly to 8.2% from 8.3%.

President Obama says this is evidence that things are moving in the right direction, even though "it’s clear to every American that there will still be ups and downs along the way, and that we’ve still got a lot to do."

Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee-to-be-probably, is less optimistic, declaring that "this is a weak and very troubling jobs report that shows the employment market remains stagnant."

So what's the truth? Well, a little of both.

The jobs market isn't doing very well, and the relatively meager number of new jobs being added monthly won't do much to bring down the unemployment rate to a more tolerable level.

At the same, the trend line is positive. Jobs are being added. Unemployment claims are declining. The upswing just isn't happening as quickly as most people (the president included) would prefer.

It's hard not to notice that when things were even worse, Romney said it was all Obama's fault. Now that things are gradually improving, he's saying that Obama deserves no credit.

"I believe the economy's coming back," Romney acknowledged last month. But he said that "the economy always comes back after recession" and that the president hasn't done much to help.

Maybe we'd all be better off if our leaders could agree that the worst is behind us and if they could talk like grown-ups about how we can ensure that we don't go through another rough patch.

As a group of wise men from Liverpool once said: "I've got to admit it's getting better, a little better all the time."

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