The June jobs report and President Obama’s summer swoon(s)

at 06:00 AM ET, 07/06/2012

The three summers of President Obama’s first term in office have been decidedly unkind to him on the economic front, a trend that puts even more importance on this morning’s June jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.


MAUMEE, OH - JULY 05: U.S. President Barack Obama arrives to speak at a campaign event at the Wolcott House Museum Complex July 5, 2012 in Maumee, Ohio. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
In each of the past three summers, the unemployment rate has bumped upwards while the job creation numbers have either leveled off or dipped downward. That trend — plus the fact that we are 123 days before the election — makes the BLS’s 8:30 announcement of the utmost political importance.

A look back at the past few summers reveals how tough the economic (and political) sledding has been for Obama

On the job creation front, the economy added 193,000 jobs in April 2010 but dipped to add 84,000, 92,000 and 92,000 in May, June and July 2010, respectively. By August 2010, that number bumped up to 128,000 jobs created.

The story was similar in the summer of 2011. In April 2011, the economy added 264,000 jobs. In May, 108,000 jobs were created, while just 102,000 were added in June. The July 2011 jobs report showed 175,000 jobs added, but that number dipped drastically to 52,000 jobs created in August.

Here are the month-by-month job creation numbers — in interactive chart form, no less! — for the past four years:

The story on the unemployment rate is similar. That story? The summer stinks for this president.

Here’s the month-by-month unemployment rate since Obama took office — with June through August highlighted:

The summer of 2009 saw a rise in the unemployment rate that presaged a year’s worth of 9-plus-percent unemployment. In the summer of 2010, the rates spiked in the summer months and then rose more gently in the summer of 2011.

Since August 2011, there has been a general downward trend in the unemployment rate, although the last few months — the unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent in May — have been less than encouraging for Obama and his political team.

The president has to hope today’s jobs report marks a break with the past three years. A summer swoon isn’t great news for a president in his first or second year in office, but it’s downright disastrous for one in a reelection year.

(After all, the summer jobs reports set the stage for perceptions of the economy in the fall election, as an isolated positive report in September or October — the last ones before the election — are unlikely to temper fears created in the months leading up to then.

If Obama has to weather — see what we did there? — three more months of economic doldrums, it could make him an underdog heading into the fall. If, on the other hand, today’s report shows job numbers up and the unemployment rate down, it could be the start of a persuasive closing argument for the Obama campaign heading into the fall.

Romney super PAC will spend $7.2 million during Olympics: The top super PAC supporting Mitt Romney’s presidential bid is set to spend $7.2 million on ads broadcast during Olympics coverage next month.

Restore Our Future will run ads in 10 key states between July 31 and Aug. 9: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin. Michigan and Wisconsin are new states for the super PAC; both are generally blue-leaning.

Obama’s campaign has said it is spending $6.5 million during the Games.

Romney to bolster communications staff: Romney’s campaign is responding to criticisms of its communications operation by adding some yet-to-be-announced seasoned hands.

The Post’s Philip Rucker reported late Thursday that the moves will be in addition to, rather than replacing, the current core of top Romney aides.

Strategists told Rucker they would add to “rapid response and overall messaging operations and to assemble a senior staff for the eventual vice presidential running mate.”

And of course, Romney’s campaign denies the moves represent a course correction.

Fixbits:

Obama adviser David Axelrod calls Romney the “most secretive” presidential candidate since Richard Nixon.

Former Newt Gingrich aide and super PAC chief Rick Tyler says the Bain attacks on Romney are still potent.

Democrats unearth video of Romney saying, during his time as governor of Massachusetts, that he wasn’t responsible for job losses early in his term.

Vice President Biden will keynote the final day of the NAACP’s convention in Houston on Thursday.

A new non-profit called American Commitment is running seven figures worth of ads against Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and is also running ads in Senate races in Wisconsin, New Mexico and Nevada.

A new poll from businessman Eric Hovde’s Wisconsin GOP Senate primary campaign shows him trailing former governor Tommy Thompson 34 percent to 29 percent. Former congressman Mark Neumann is third at 16 percent. Other recent polling has shown Thompson up more.

One of those priceless campaign moments: Democratic Arizona Senate candidate Richard Carmona helps the young man tracking him for the opposition.

Another convention-skipper: Connecticut GOP Senate candidate Linda McMahon.

A judge intervenes in Rep. Charlie Rangel’s (D-N.Y.) primary, barring the New York elections board from certifying his win until the court gives it the go-ahead.

Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) says he doesn’t regret criticizing his Democratic opponent for playing up her military service in her campaign. He also says the CNN anchor’s name a lot — like a lot a lot.

An internal report conducted for Connecticut Democratic congressional candidate Chris Donovan’s campaign says he had no knowledge of illegal contributions to his campaign. His opponents, needless to say, aren’t impressed.

Must-reads:

Can the Democrats Catch Up in the Super-PAC Game?” — Robert Draper, New York Times Magazine

Measuring the Effect of the Economy on Elections” — Nate Silver, New York Times

Mitt Romney’s problem on the health-care mandate question” — Dan Balz, Washington Post

 
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