'Only' 11,000 jobs lost in November? Baby, it's still cold out there

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My family and I drove through the deepest, darkest, most toothless regions of central Virginia to visit my Mom's place for the Thanksgiving weekend.

I'm not exaggerating about the rural nature of the landscape. We passed through a town called "Bumpass." (I'm not making that up.) Next to the "Pohick River," this is easily one of the most, well... stereotypical place names on the Virginia map. They might as well be called "Redneckistan" and "That Kid from Deliverance River."

There's nothing wrong with this, of course, other than the fact that there's a nuclear power plant a mile or two from Bumpass. Thoughts of "Cletus the Slack-Jawed Yokel" from The Simpsons operating the radiation controls made me sweat a little, but congratulations anyway, Cletus, for finding work.


Having been born and raised in Virginia, and having traveled those back roads many times, I'm more or less familiar with the economic situation there. But there was a new addition to the lawn-ornament festoonery on the front lawns of some of the small, dirt-farmer properties.

There were spray-painted sheets of plywood (or other flat, cheap materials) asking for a jobs in several front yards. I counted at least three "Will Do Odd Jobs" placards along the way. Literally, signs of the times.

My ongoing concern is that the Obama administration is going to downplay job creation in lieu of deficit reduction, and that's probably not such a great idea right now. And I tend to agree with Atrios who worries that the new job numbers today indicating "only" 11,000 jobs lost in November might de-emphasize -- or make less urgent -- the need for serious job creation within Congress and the administration.

In the last couple of weeks, there's been increased chatter in Washington about a new jobs bill. This is good news, but if it begins to look like unemployment is easing back down, there might not be the political will to do what's necessary to get us back to the 7% unemployment range again, and so it could take many more years to bring the numbers back down to Earth.

Consequently, it could take many more years before there's real employment for the odd-jobs seekers in Bumpass and other depressed locations across the country.
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