There are many ways to slice and dice the latest unemployment numbers. The overall outcome is that the national unemployment rate in June remained constant at 8.2 percent. Constancy at this level is not indicative of a healthy economy, and, it will be a very high hurdle for Obama to overcome in his efforts to be reelected president.
An interesting perspective is the unemployment situation in the ten “battleground states.” In Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Virginia, the unemployment rate increased 0.1%. The impact of these results is somewhat cloudy as one of these states, Michigan, (8.6 percent unemployment), is above the national average; Colorado (8.2 percent) is at the national average. Meanwhile, Iowa (5.2 percent), New Hampshire (5.1 percent), and Virginia (5.7 percent) are far below the average.
In Nevada, Florida, and North Carolina, the unemployment rate stayed the same, yet these states had unemployment rates far above the national average. Nevada was at 11.6 percent, North Carolina at 9.4 percent and Florida at 8.6 percent.
In Ohio, unemployment hit 7.2 percent, far below the national average.
The question political pundits are asking is whether individual state unemployment numbers will influence the election. Or, are voters mostly tracking the national average when they consider the health of the U.S. economy?
Regarding the latter, it might be useful to consider more unemployment facts. Some 12.7 million people are unemployed in the U.S. This number excludes those who have stopped searching for jobs and those who are underemployed.
Blacks have the highest unemployment at 14.4%. In spite of this amazingly high percentage, Obama is still expected to receive very strong support from this group.
Long-term unemployed totaled 5.4 million, or 41.9% of the total unemployed. A lot of people have been looking for work for a very long period of time.
Part time involuntary workers total 8.2 million. These are people who would like more work but cannot find it.
And finally new job growth is approximately equal to the sum of those being laid off and new workers looking for jobs; this is evident as the national rate unemployment rate stayed the same.
The overall rate will likely be unfavorable for the incumbent president, as it is not expected to decline meaningfully before the election and is reflective of an anemic economy.