With little to brag about during recent weeks, because of ongoing evidence of how bad the national health care law is for Americans, President Barack Obama's administration seized upon one bright spot last week. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits fell sharply, the Labor Department announced.
Applications for benefits during the week of Christmas fell to a seasonally adjusted level of 338,000 in comparison to the previous year, the agency reported. Analysts pointed out the one-week number probably was misleading. A four-week report showed unemployment benefit claims rising, they explained.
But even in the context of the Labor Department report - configured to put the best face possible on unemployment figures - there was bad news.
Much of it affected this area of the country. In Ohio, the week's claims for unemployment benefits were higher - by 1,529 people - than last year at this time. The Labor Department said that was because of layoffs in manufacturing companies.
In West Virginia, the numbers were nearly the same as last year - and the Labor Department noted this state has one of the highest "insured unemployment rates," at 3.1 percent, in the nation.
Obama frequently pats himself on the back for his alleged success in battling the "Great Recession." But the country is pulling out of it very, very slowly - and government programs have played little part in even that small success.
The president has made it clear he has little compassion for the manufacturing sector that made the nation great. But the recovery will gain momentum only if the government stops placing regulatory and tax obstacles in the way of Americans who make things.