Just to show what a difference small changes make, consider that over the past two weeks the world has added two great new talking points for Obama. One is that per this month’s BLS household survey, the unemployment rate is now back down to where it was in January 2009 before he took office. The other is that between the rebaselining of the first quarter and the upward revisions to July and August it’s now clear that more people are at work today than were when Obama was inaugurated—with the net private sector gains even stronger.
In the real world nothing magical happens when we cross that zero baseline, but in terms of what talking points are and aren’t valid it seems transformative. Obama can now say clearly that both in terms of levels and rates of change, the employment situation has improved on his watch.