The Fix: unemployment rate

Why President Obama needs to make history in 2012. Again.

Amid the back and forth about Friday’s jobs report, one thing is abundantly clear: To win a second term on November 6, President Obama is going to have to defy history.


US President Barack Obama pauses while speaking during an event in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on the White House campus August 3, 2012 in Washington, DC. Obama spoke to urge Congress to pass tax cuts for the American middle class. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI
Why? Because the July jobs report affirmed the now-certain reality that the unemployment rate won’t drop below eight percent between today and November. And no sitting president since World War II has been re-elected with the unemployment rate above 7.2 percent.

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Swing state unemployment rates: Do they matter?

In our Monday column for the newspaper, we argued that while the national economic mood is decidedly grim — thanks largely to the sky-high 8.2 percent unemployment rate — the financial picture in swing states is considerably brighter.

We wrote:

In seven of those 12 [swing] states — Iowa, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — the unemployment rate is below the June national average of 8.2 percent. In some, it is considerably less than the national average; the June rates in New Hampshire, Iowa and Virginia were below 6 percent. Even in Ohio, a state hit hard by the collapse of the manufacturing sector, the unemployment rate is a full percentage point below the U.S. average. Republicans note that the unemployment rate rose between May and June in Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Virginia, among other swing states.

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