The odd slight of hand, not particularly the president's fault, is that the steadily falling unemployment rate since August -- a few shallow gains notwithstanding -- is attributed to high numbers of workers giving up.
Technically, they have school or family reasons but the simple fact of the matter is they have quit looking for work, one way or another, and the government simply believes going back to school, taking care of an elderly parent or having a young infant in the house are the only three alternatives
The president would be hard-pressed to point to a specific program that could help voters link cause and effect, such as the president could say: Here's the program and there are the jobs created because of that.
Prior to the past two consecutive years of Republican stonewalling, Obama could have pointed to his massive stimulus package, approximately $900 billion worth, and take credit for a saving more jobs than he created.
That beats gridlock by a wide margin, but it was still a tough sell. "Hey, we spent $900 billion and unemployment rate didn't go as high as it otherwise would have!" Not the most succinct of campaign slogans and that was two years back, anyway. Who can remember that far back?
On international markets Monday, the Nikkei 225 index in Japan gained 0.26 percent and the Shanghai composite index in China rose 0.16 percent. The Hang Seng index in Hong Kong fell 0.16 percent and the Sensex in India rose 0.19 percent.
In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.67 percent.
In midday trading in Europe, the FTSE 100 index in Britain added 0.59 percent while the DAX 30 in Germany gained 0.76 percent. The CAC 40 in France added 0.39 percent and the Stoxx Europe 600 gained 0.42 percent.