Jobs Report Takeaway: It's Morning in America
The blowout economic news released Friday in the November employment report signals an acceleration of the extraordinary labor market trends in America and may well forecast the reelection of President Trump.
After the sluggish, slow-growth Obama years, especially for working-class laborers in our land, the spoils of the present Trump Boom constitute an economic awakening, a sunrise of opportunity. In 1984, President Reagan made history by winning 49 states in a reelection landslide, in part due to savvy marketing, particularly his landmark “Morning in America” commercial projecting the optimism of an America back to work. But not long before that ad, Reagan’s chances for a second term seemed imperiled. The GOP was routed in the 1982 midterms, and throughout most of 1983 the president’s approval numbers languished around 40%. Sound familiar?
But by 1984, the roaring economy and surging optimism of America translated into similarly buoyant results for Ronald Reagan. While no one expects a 1984-style Republican victory in 2020, important parallels exist. Specifically, the blockbuster labor market combined with a groundswell of consumer optimism make President Trump the prohibitive favorite to prevail next November.
The headlines of the employment report deserve celebration, with 266,000 new jobs created last month, including 54,000 in manufacturing. But the details reveal even better news for the U.S. workforce. For example, the quality of the increases matches the quantity of new hires, as yearly earnings exceeded 3% growth for the 16th consecutive month, a mark seen in only three months, total, during the Obama years. In addition, those wage gains now flow overwhelmingly to workers previously left behind. For example, blue-collar wage growth exceeded white-collar wage growth; non-college grads outperformed those with degrees; and black incomes surpassed those of whites. The point here is not to engage in the divisiveness of liberal identity politics. All Americans presently enjoy robust wage growth. But it is also important to highlight the tangible benefits to groups that most needed a leg up on the economic ladder.
A key driver of the new dynamism in the labor market has been the revitalized small business sector. Hispanics, as the statistically most entrepreneurial demographic in America, benefit handsomely from the renewed zeal of start-ups. As Friday’s report detailed, the Latino jobless rate has been under 5% for 20 straight months. Prior to President Trump, there had only been one month ever of sub-5% Hispanic joblessness, back in 2006. But at last, tax and regulatory relief have unleashed the animal spirits of American strivers. No wonder a recent CNBC survey of small business owners found Trump’s approval rating at a new record high of 60%. In 2017, that same study showed only a +3% net approval/disapproval rating for the president. Now, the figure among small business owners has exploded to +20% in favor of the president.
Not surprisingly, this economic vitality is spurring record optimism, and right into the key Christmas shopping season. For example, the respected University of Michigan survey of consumer sentiment recently registered above 95.0 -- for the 30th month out of the last 35. For context, the last time that study showed such a sustained level of elevated enthusiasm was during the tech boom of the late 1990s.
All of this stout data flies in the face of the Democratic impeachment narrative that this president is somehow unfit for his position. Instead, the Trump Boom only validates his incredible acumen in fostering a thriving country -- in spite of the constant obstructionism of the Democratic House and their allies in corporate media. Once this sham, partisan impeachment inquest passes, as it surely will, imagine how much more can be accomplished to grow our prosperity if Congress actually focuses on practical policies, such as passing the USMCA?
Far from the Beltway bloviators who dominate the corporate media airwaves, Americans increasingly embrace the kitchen-table benefits of faster, broader economic expansion. They also acknowledge the efficacy of President Trump’s policies in creating the conditions for this success. For example, according the RealClearPolitics polling average, Trump’s approval right now exceeds that of Obama at the same point in his first term. This fact carries particular importance considering that at the outset of Trump’s term, he began with an almost 20-percentage-point deficit to Obama at the same juncture. Closing a gap that large matters.
To be sure, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is keenly aware of all these trends. It seems patently obvious that she and her committee heads are pursuing impeachment now precisely because of the incredible momentum the economy – and the president – now enjoy. Knowing full well that the Democratic presidential stable of dinosaurs and radicals cannot defeat Trump next year, the House Democrats are throwing a constitutional “Hail Mary” pass, hoping to diminish the president before November 2020. But their political plotting will fail, and may cost them control of the House in the process. As Pelosi and her adoring acolytes in the media dive headlong into their Quixotic quest, tilting at impeachment windmills, our country grows stronger abroad, safer at home, and wealthier from work.
It’s morning in America.