Yeah, it was the four-door family sedan of monthly jobs reports: 175,000 net new jobs in May, right at expectations. Republicans will make much of the unemployment rate ticking up slightly to 7.6%, though that apparently happened because the ranks of the “discouraged” who don’t bother to look for jobs went down from last month. Federal government employment dropped by 14,000 jobs, which depressed net job growth, but not massively. There were small upward revisions for March and downward revisions for April.

Probably the best news (if not a very happy indicator of how our economic system currently works) is that this number hit the “sweet spot” Wall Street was looking for, where growth exists but not at a rate that might cause the Fed to stop goosing it modestly along and instead worry about inflation. So the recent “jitter”-driven swoon in stocks may end. That’s cold comfort if you are among the 4.4 million Americans classified by BLS as “long-term unemployed,” or among the many millions whose conditions of employment have suffered from a perpetually slack labor market. But it’s the very slow and steady progress one associates with medieval visions of Purgatory, where the suffering soul at least has hope.

Our ideas can save democracy... But we need your help! Donate Now!

Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.