Media outlets focused heavily today on the Department of Labor's announcement that the unemployment rate fell to 4.6%.
Most media, however, missed the historical significance of the 4.6% number. A 4.6% unemployment rate represents a 3.7 point drop in the unemployment number from the start of the Obama administration. Why is that significant? It is the single largest decline in the unemployment rate during any presidential term in the past 25 years. It exceeds the reduction in the unemployment rate during the Clinton administration (a 2.9 point drop) and, obviously, exceeds the gain in the unemployment rate during the Bush administration (a 3.6 point increase).
The unemployment rate is admittedly not a perfect indicator of how many Americans are working. For example, it does not include Americans that have stopped looking for employment, and many have speculated, as a result, that if you factor in the number of people who have given up the job search because they feel it is futile the unemployment rate would be far greater.
If you look at the absolute number of Americans who are at work, however, it confirms not only a positive trend, but that the number of American who are employed in the private sector is at an all time high of 122.8 million. To put that in context, it is 12.1 million more jobs than existed at the start of the Obama presidency, and 15.5 million more jobs than existed at the height of the recession: