Jobs are still a top issue for many Americans, but it seems as though Congress has started to lose interest -- members of the House and Senate are talking about jobs only about a quarter as much as they did two years ago.
Congressional attention to jobs -- or, at least, talking about them -- reached its peak in 2011, when the word was mentioned, on average, more than 2,000 times a month, according to the Sunlight Foundation’s Capitol Words tool.
Some fraction of that was due to Steve Jobs' death in October that year. But there was also President Barack Obama’s proposed American Jobs Act, a Republican bill called Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act and nearly incessant back-and-forth on whether government helps or hinders job creation. Democratic lawmakers, especially, had a penchant for the word in triplicate: "jobs, jobs, jobs." Republicans, led by House Speaker John Boehner, devoted much of 2010 and 2011 to a pressing question about the economy: "Where are the jobs?"
The combined effect? A whole lot of talking about jobs, as seen in the video below:
Congress hasn’t exactly stopped talking about employment since then, but by 2012, the average mentions of “jobs” per month had slowed to 925. This year so far, that pace is under 500.
Mentions of the economy took a similar dip, from an average 926 per month in 2011 to 399 per month so far this year.
Although in the past five years Democrats have mentioned jobs a little more often than their Republican counterparts, the leveling-off has been pretty much bipartisan. It's not uncommon these days for the set of Sunday shows to pass without either jobs or the economy being mentioned, and little is heard of the crisis in presidential press conferences.
Jobs, needless to say, remain an issue: a May report puts the unemployment rate at 7.5 percent. Some Republicans are inching toward a much simpler solution to unemployment -- getting rid of that number itself.
The American public, meanwhile, hasn’t lost interest in the subejct. In a Pew poll this January, 79 percent said improving the “job situation” was a top priority, roughly equal to the 82 percent who named it as such in 2009.
Video mashup by Eva Hill. Ryan Grim and Emran Hossain contributed reporting.