(photo: Old Sarge)

There is some very good news today for President Obama from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. We saw some significant job growth in February, and official unemployment is below nine percent for the first time in months.

Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 192,000 in February, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in manufacturing, construction, professional and business services, health care, and transportation and warehousing.

With incumbent election performance highly correlated with economic growth, and jobs being by far the most important issue for voters, the faster the unemployment rate drops, the tougher it will be for any Republican nominee to defeat Obama in 2012.

This could also have an effect on the GOP primary field. With many Republicans trying to now decide about  whether or not to seek their party’s nomination, the prospect of facing a president who can campaign on an improving economy might make a run less appealing.

If this general trend continues–and isn’t seriously slowed by the large cuts in local government spending or Obama’s idiotic willingness to embrace House Republicans’ anti-growth, immediate austerity measures–Obama will be in good shape for re-election.