As badly as so many people wanted today's job numbers to confirm predictions of a double-dip recession, they didn't.
For perspective: most economists say the U.S. needs to add at least a couple hundred thousand jobs EVERY MONTH. America lost 54,000 jobs in August - that's bad. In fact, the government alone shed 121,000 jobs.
So why the heck am I so pleased? Because the private sector (-i.e. Businesses) ADDED 67,000 jobs. Here I'll do the math: 67,000 private sector jobs created minus 121,000 government jobs lost equals 54,000 jobs lost.
But I'm almost blind to the 121,000 government jobs lost (not, by the way, to the people and families affected by those lost jobs), because job creation is supposed to come from the private sector.
The private sector - private businesses - are the engine of economic growth in this country, and in any free market system. Government spending, and government jobs, help fill the gaps when times are tough and companies pull back, but the economy lives or dies, ultimately, on the strength of its businesses, small or large.
Here's another reason I'm feeling good: every month when we get these numbers, we also get revisions to the previous couple of months, and even THOSE improved. The job loss numbers for July, it turns out, are MUCH lower than we first thought.
Look, enough people out there will disagree, and you'll read and hear lots about why this economy is stuck firmly in the tank. There are some who will scratch their head at the mere idea that a single lost job can be seen as a positive development.
But I see a trend growing here, and its a trend in the most important part of the economy: jobs.
To me, today, the glass is one-quarter full.