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Unemployment Rate Now Lowest Since February 2009

South Carolina National Guardsmen, veterans and their families line up to meet potential employers at a military job fair on January 19, 2012 in Columbia, South Carolina.
What about the people who run job fairs? What will happen to them? Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

After announcing his candidacy last year, Mitt Romney made a habit of claiming that President Obama made the recession worse. After being called out by various fact-checkers for such a dubious assertion (look at these graphs!) Romney grudgingly admitted that, fine, the economy is getting better under Obama after all (not that he deserves any credit). But at his presser with Donald Trump yesterday, Romney, as Greg Sargent notes this morning, reverted back to his original line: “[Obama is] frequently telling us that he did not cause the recession, and that’s true. But he made it worse.”

If there ever were a bad time to double down on the “he made the recession worse” claim, it’s now. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 243,000 jobs were added to the economy in January, far more than the 150,000 that were expected by economists. In addition, previous estimates for employment growth in November and December were revised upward by a combined 60,000 jobs. The unemployment rate fell to 8.3 percent, the lowest it’s been since February 2009, shortly after Obama took office. 

The economy is hardly out of danger. Europe’s debt crisis still looms, and even if that ticking time bomb never explodes, the United States still has looong way to go before it claws its way back to pre-recession levels of unemployment. “It’s a steady grind in the right direction, but it’s a grind,” Omair Sharif, United States economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland, tells the Times

But if reports like today’s become more common, Romney might have to find himself a new shtick, permanently. 

Unemployment Rate Now Lowest Since February 2009