Despite high oil prices, the euro area crises, and obstruction at every turn from conservatives in Congress, the private sector continued its 25-month job growth streak in March thanks to the Recovery Act and other proactive policies. Last month the U.S. economy added 120,000 jobs and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.2 percent.
Some of the moderated growth in March may be due to unseasonably warm winter weather in parts of the country, which could have pulled some economic activity earlier into the year. Overall, though, 2012 registered the strongest first quarter of job growth since the first quarter of 2006—at the peak of the real estate bubble—and stronger than any other first quarter of jobs growth since the 1990s boom economy.
Still, millions of middle-class families continue to struggle uphill due to the hole left in our labor market by the Great Recession that began in December 2007, and the recovery’s moderate pace and unequal distribution mean that growth is not reaching enough people.
Although a number of factors outside the United States are blowing headwinds against our recovery, the conservative budget for fiscal year 2013 passed on a party-line vote in the House of Representatives last week poses a political threat to growth, job creation, and financial security and opportunity for middle-class families.
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