If you're Rick Santorum, you make the patently ridiculous statement that companies are hiring because they are hoping for a change to a Republican administration a year from now. (He might have been joking.) Does anyone doubt that if employment was still declining, Santorum and any other political opponents of the president would have been blaming continued high unemployment on the current administration, just as they are blaming Obama for sluggish growth? But if employment is rising, the president can get no credit. I guess that's par for the course in politics.
But still, how do you argue with the chart? I suppose you could say that job growth should have been even greater in the past couple of years, but then you have to contend with the reality that a lot of the sluggish job growth has been caused by massive layoffs of public sector employees, primarily at the state and local level. And you can't prove that anything the opposition is suggesting would have made employment grow any faster. So maybe we should all just appreciate the fact that slowly but surely, more and more Americans are going back to work.