Back on his heels from a poor performance in Wednesday night’s debate, President Obama today got a dose of good news as the unemployment rate declined from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent.
There are a few things to say about this.
- Job growth is modest, but it is growth. The rate did not come down because people left the workforce, as has occurred in the past. The 114,000 jobs created are not that many for this economy, but the significant rise in the number of people with part time jobs suggests a slowly improving situation.
- This will undermine Mitt Romney, whose main case for the presidency is that the Obama economy is a nightmare. Romney’s case that Obama has failed is still correct, but the unemployment rate is closely watched. But exactly how much peoples’ votes will be affected is anyone’s guess. They know the economy has been bad for a long time. Don’t listen to political commentators who think they can tell you how much an economic statistic will affect the race.
- There is one more job statistic left to go, the Friday before Election Day. It will have an impact. Many undecideds make up their minds in the last few days.
- And no, I don’t think the books are being cooked. Anything’s possible, but just knowing Washington as I do, this would be a difficult and really unprecedented conspiracy to pull off. And probably more risky than it’s worth.
The polls that will be out next week will take both the debate and the jobs numbers into account. We’ll have a better idea then where things stand.