It was a day early, thanks to the July 3 holiday, and you can’t exactly say the June jobs report involved any fireworks. But it was certainly quite positive: 288,000 net new jobs, the official unemployment rate down two ticks to 6.1%; workforce participation steady; a slight upward revision in jobs estimates the previous two months. It’s the fifth straight month of over-200k job growth, which hasn’t happened since the Long Boom of the 1990s. And it will help economists and investors forget the recent bizarre and troubling news about first quarter GDP actually contracting.

If unemployment subsequently drops below 6%, it will make the sort of headlines that could actually affect public opinion, just in time for Democrats to mitigate potential November losses. At some hazy point quite soon, perceptions of the economy among 2014 voters will be more or less locked in.

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.