Forget last night’s speech. Forget Clinton’s speech. Forget Romney’s speech. This is what could decide the election.
The economy added only 96,000 jobs in August, the Labor Department just announced, well below the 150,000 or so needed just to keep pace with growth in the work force. Unemployment declined from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent, but that’s only because people are giving up searching for jobs and leaving the workforce. Since they’re no longer counted, the percent of unemployed declined.
This is very, very bad news for President Obama. It may even explain why he seemed kind of flat during portions of Thursday night’s speech, since I understand he knew the numbers at the time.
I assure you, there are blisters on people’s hands at Romney campaign headquarters in Boston from all the high fiving going on.
This will be very hard to the White House to explain. Built on previous bad numbers, it’s clear that the Obama prescription for the economy is not working and the “more of the same” Obama campaign argument is going to ring hollow.
And this point, the “Oh, we got dealt such a bad hand” argument ain’t much better than “The dog ate my homework.”
This is not progress. When you create less jobs than you need, it’s effectively jobs losses.
What’s more, the last few months’ numbers were revised downward. The economy added 141,000 jobs in July compared to the initial report of 163,000, and the lousy June report of 64,000 jobs was cut to 45,000.
And, whoops, manufacturers shed 15,000 jobs, the biggest loss in two years, with more than half the pink slips being handed out in the auto sector.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of the article said there would be one more jobs report before Election Day. There will be two.