I said earlier this week that this month's job report was more important than most, and it sure looks very good for the Democrats, with a healthy 290K jobs added in April, and positive revisions for February (from a slight loss to a slight gain) and March (up from 162K to 230K). As always, don't forget to check out Steve Benen's jobs report graph. The bad news is that the unemployment rate ticket up (to 9.9%, still a terrible number). Still, I suspect we're now pretty much at the point that Democrats will feel safe to start actually talking up the economy. They've been very hesitant to do so to date, for lots of good reasons: most Dems still want jobs legislation, and talking up the economy undermines the case for it; the overall unemployment situation has still been terrible, and Dems don't want to sound insensitive to hard times for their constituents; and, most important of all, the Democrats certainly don't want a "Mission Accomplished" moment. These reasons are now fading, as the economic situation improves.
At the same time, the GOP is going to find it more difficult to repeat their recent mantra, "Where Are The Jobs?" Not impossible, of course; unemployment is still very, very, high, and the "good" numbers from March and April are still only about enough to tread water; the economy has to add more jobs than that to do more than keep pace with the growth of the workforce. In other words, we're still not looking at actual good jobs numbers. Still, Republicans will certainly have to think about whether to adjust their rhetoric -- although recall that Democrats ran on jobs for months after (slow) job growth resumed following the first George W. Bush recession, just as they did after the George H.W. Bush recession, so I'd hardly expect the GOP to abandon the issue.
No, the thing that might now change is if Democrats begin solidly talking up the economy, it's likely that elite consensus will shift to a more positive view, which will then filter down to voters. Of course, reality will ultimately matter far more than spin, but in the short run spin can make some difference, and today's numbers certainly help the Democrats quite a bit on that score.