Economic data released today showed stronger-than-expected new job growth. The new US jobs numbers beat projections of eight jobs created and came in at 12 new jobs for the first quarter 2011. Wall Street reacted positively to the news with the Dow Jones finishing the day up 147 points. The NASDAQ rose three percent to 2761.
House Republicans were quick to take credit for the strong numbers. House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “House Republicans have been fighting every day for the rights of Americans to get a job, to pay taxes, to work hard, to pay increasing health insurance premiums, to get a second job, to pay into Social Security and Medicaid and a 401k. Despite the objections of Democrats, we pushed for these rights. We are proud of the work we did on the Recovery Act. We were able to create each new job for less than 300 billion dollars apiece, a real bargain.”
According to Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada), however, the Republicans actually tried to bury the Stimulus Bill. “It was the Democrats who worked night and day to get that bill signed into passage. Pork barrel spending by Republicans added 610 pages and 200 billion dollars to the bill. Despite their money-grubbing, foot-dragging and stonewalling, we got the bill passed.”
President Obama in his weekly televised speech said, “The new data shows us that we are on the fast track to economic recovery. The economy is growing more quickly than we hoped, and companies are aggressively hiring to meet the demands of this new economy. We are now reaping the benefits of the stimulus package that my administration suggested and fought for. We asked the American people to put up 825 billion dollars for the reinvestment bill. Their support was confirmed by their silence. It was a tough decision at the time but we can now say with the utmost certainly that we made the right decision. We hoped that we would create eight new jobs in the first quarter and we beat those projections by 50 percent. I believe that we are through the worst of it and Americans should begin spending money again. It’s time for the American people to start using credit cards again, to start dipping into savings, and to take out loans. Your hard-earned cash is the lifeblood of the economy and we must spend it in order to make it. Unless the American people spend their savings, they won’t have any. Unless we strip their paychecks down to nothing, they’ll have nothing left. And when there is nothing left, there will be nothing to lose. That is the core foundation of this recovery. It’s time for the American people to get back in the game and start buying new televisions, automobiles and appliances, all of which helps to support struggling overseas economies. It’s time to party like it’s 1999.”
Most of the new jobs created, 12 in total, were in the Northeast region. Ocean State Job Lot in Norwood, MA hired two new cashiers. The Scrub ‘n’ Scoot Car Wash in Bennington, VT hired a detailer, and the Massachusetts Department of Recreation hired six seasonal lifeguards.
There was other good news in the first quarter data released today. In total, only 230,000 US jobs were lost. Home foreclosures rose by 8.2 percent which is 1.5 percent more than expected. The number of Americans without health insurance rose to 47 million. Bankruptcies remained steady at 120,000 for the first three months of 2011. Consumables dropped by 12.3 percent as rising gas prices cut into home budgets. Household debt rose by eight percent, as credit card companies continued to put the squeeze on its customers. And on a more positive note, consumer confidence went down the crapper.