Slowly but surely, the economy is heading in the right direction. If the economy were a patient, the patient would still be in the ICU on multiple antibiotics. Though still on a ventilator, the patient looks better and is heading in the right direction. An infusion of 244,000 new jobss is part of the prescription for getting the patient back on his/her feet. Over the last three months, private sector jobs have grown by over 700,000. This is all good news. Yet, as I have said over the previous months, it is not time to do the happy dance. It is time to give our patient an infusion of more jobs (stimulus), which will really jumpstart the economy. This is what is desperately needed. Unfortunately, the political atmosphere in Washington will not get this done. No meaningful legislation will come out of the House over the next 18 months.

We still have 14 million Americans who are unemployed. 14 million Americans! At our current rate of job growth we can get our unemployment level back to prerecession levels by the year 2016. Who can wait that long?

If you look at the numbers more critically and break down unemployment by groups, certain groups are clearly hurting more than others. The unemployment rate among our youth (16-24) is a whopping 17.6%. For those youth with only a high school education the unemployment rate averaged 21.8% last year. The unemployment rate among African-Americans is 16.1% and among Hispanics is 11.8%. The unemployment rate among men is 9.4% and among women 8.4%.

Wages are stagnant. Hourly wages rose a paltry three cents in April. With 14 million Americans unemployed, currently the economic pressure is not there for employers to raise wages. (Great article by Rick Newman about why wages are stuck in neutral.)

So, we need more jobs. We need better paying jobs.