Editorial: Hope springs eternal
One step forward, two steps back.
More and more, that’s becoming the norm for the U.S. economy. And, so far, March is holding to that trend. The month started out with a step back as the automatic federal budget cuts triggered by sequestration kicked in, beginning the process of job furloughs and other austerity measures.
Then, a week later, the latest job numbers came out, with the unemployment rate dropping 0.2 percent. The nation’s economy gained 236,000 jobs in February and private sector pay rose 0.6 percent as people both worked more hours and at a higher hourly wage.
And while housing starts fell by 8.5 percent in January, December’s figures were revised upward to a rate of 973,000 new homes started. Compared with a year ago, new home construction was up 23.6 percent.
So, just how well, or poorly, the economy is doing depends on what report you’re reading at the time. One’s optimism or pessimism about the economy is impacted as much by what side of the bed that person woke up on as anything on the pages of the Wall Street Journal.
Call us cock-eyed optimists, we can’t help but be excited about the unemployment rate dropping to 7.7 percent. It would be nice if the men and women on Capitol Hill could get together and make the tough choices of where to cut the budget, instead of the ham-handed approach of the sequester. This practice of governing by crisis may help individual Congressmen and women pander to their political bases, but what is needed is a spirit of compromise.
Enough of that … we’ll take a win where we get one. Let’s just hope the warmer weather continues to thaw out the nation’s economy, as well as the icy political climate.