Job growth vindicates Obama policies

It may be touted as a growing “confidence” of business in America’s continuing economic recovery, but for the 1 million workers who have been added to payrolls since November, the jobs boom means work. It means health insurance. It means tuition. It means a measure of security.

January was the 52nd straight month in which the United States has experienced job growth. In North Carolina, the state has added some 6,500 payroll jobs per month since the low point of the recession in February 2010, resulting in a cumulative gain of 379,500 payroll jobs.

President Obama isn’t saying, “I told you so,” but he couldn’t be blamed for feeling vindicated. He endured all sorts of carping from Republicans as he promoted stimulus packages and a bailout for the auto industry over his first six years in office, but the latest job figures show that his initiatives have worked.

Of course, to some degree the rebound was a natural flow after a dramatic ebb, and the economy has always been cyclical and has always seen recession and rebound. But financial crisis brought special challenges, and the rise in jobs suggests that Obama and the Federal Reserve’s policies have worked. Republicans are not going to give the White House any credit, but the public is. Obama’s job approval rating has edged above 50 percent for the first time since May 2013.

What’s the old saying? Someone who can’t take “yes” for an answer? The critics still scorn Obama’s policies. But that scorn seems now to be more a reflection of political resentment than an honest dispute over facts. The president’s success also gives credibility to his arguments with his latest budget that it’s time to invest in infrastructure improvements and in more government jobs to keep the economy moving upward.