CommunityElections

Weak April Job Numbers Should Concern Obama Campaign

Job growth last month was disappointingly weak according to new jobs numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payroll employment rose by only 115,000. The is well below the 154,000 jobs added in March according to the revised estimates. That makes April the worst month for jobs so far this year. The official unemployment rate did fall to 8.1% but that is nothing to celebrate. The modest drop was primarily a result of people giving up on trying to find work and not because more people were getting jobs. From the Bureau:

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 115,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services, retail trade, and health care, but declined in transportation and warehousing.

[…]

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little changed at 5.1 million in April. These individuals made up 41.3 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed has fallen by 759,000. (See table A-12.)

The civilian labor force participation rate declined in April to 63.6 percent, while the employment-population ratio, at 58.4 percent, changed little.

It is possible at least some of the slowdown is due to weather, but this is still very concerning news for the Obama campaign. The economy is by far the dominate issue for voters this election and they will judge Obama on his perceived handling of it. For Obama to have the best reasonable chance of winning he needs it to at least appear that the weak economy is moving in the right direction. These new numbers indicate the economy could be stalling, or even moving slightly backwards.

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Weak April Job Numbers Should Concern Obama Campaign

(photo: Old Sarge/flickr)

Job growth last month was disappointingly weak according to new jobs numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nonfarm payroll employment rose by only 115,000. The is well below the 154,000 jobs added in March according to the revised estimates. That makes April the worst month for jobs so far this year. The official unemployment rate did fall to 8.1% but that is nothing to celebrate. The modest drop was primarily a result of people giving up on trying to find work and not because more people were getting jobs. From the Bureau:

Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 115,000 in April, and the unemployment rate was little changed at 8.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in professional and business services, retail trade, and health care, but declined in transportation and warehousing.

[…]

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was little changed at 5.1 million in April. These individuals made up 41.3 percent of the unemployed. Over the year, the number of long-term unemployed has fallen by 759,000. (See table A-12.)

The civilian labor force participation rate declined in April to 63.6 percent, while the employment-population ratio, at 58.4 percent, changed little.

It is possible at least some of the slowdown is due to weather, but this is still very concerning news for the Obama campaign. The economy is by far the dominate issue for voters this election and they will judge Obama on his perceived handling of it. For Obama to have the best reasonable chance of winning he needs it to at least appear that the weak economy is moving in the right direction. These new numbers indicate the economy could be stalling, or even moving slightly backwards.

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Jon Walker

Jon Walker

Jonathan Walker grew up in New Jersey. He graduated from Wesleyan University in 2006. He is an expert on politics, health care and drug policy. He is also the author of After Legalization and Cobalt Slave, and a Futurist writer at http://pendinghorizon.com

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