News / USA

Jobs are Crucial US Election Year Issue

The U.S. government's monthly jobs report said the economy added nearly 300,000 new jobs last month, the biggest monthly total in four years.  The economy in general and the jobless rate in particular will be factors in this year's midterm congressional elections, and politicians from both major political parties are keeping close watch on an assortment of key economic indicators.  

President Barack Obama says the Labor Department report documenting the additional jobs is very encouraging news.

But because more people have decided to look for work, the unemployment rate for April actually crept up from 9.7 to 9.9 percent.

Creating jobs is always a president's top domestic priority, and Mr. Obama vowed to continue working on his campaign promise to restore the jobs lost in the economic downturn.

"So, to those who are out there still looking, I give you my word that I am going to keep fighting every single day to create jobs and opportunities for people," said President Obama. "We are not going to rest until we put this difficult chapter behind us."

Republicans focused more on the slight increase in the jobless rate.  House Republican leader John Boehner said Americans and small businesses continue to ask, where are the jobs?

Republican Congressman Kevin Brady of Texas spoke at a congressional hearing shortly after the jobs report was released.

"A painfully slow recovery is better than no recovery," said Kevin Brady. "But for the 15.3 million Americans who are out of work and waiting for Washington Democrats to finally focus on jobs, this report is disheartening."

2010 is a congressional election year, and the national unemployment rate is always a factor anytime Americans go to the polls.

Ross Baker is a political scientist at Rutgers University in New Jersey:

"I think the economy more than anything else is going to determine what the result is going to be," said Ross Baker. "Over the years when you look at these elections, generally speaking if the economy is doing poorly, the president's party does poorly.  If the economy is doing well, the president's party generally does better, or at least loses fewer seats."

Historically, the party that controls the White House loses congressional seats in a new president's first midterm election.  And in years when the unemployment rate hovers near ten percent, those losses can be significant.  For example, high unemployment in 1982 cost Republicans 26 House seats during the first midterm election for then President Ronald Reagan.

Republicans expect to make gains in this year's election, largely because of concern over the economy and the enactment of Mr. Obama's controversial health care reform law.

But recent signs of an economic turnaround could help Democrats limit their losses in November, says Georgetown University expert Stephen Wayne.

"If that turnaround continues through the summer and into the fall, if unemployment drops, if the foreclosures of mortgages decrease, if housing prices increase, if inflation is held fairly constant then I think the Democrats will have a lot of momentum behind them and I think while the Republicans will pick up seats, they will not pick up enough to challenge Democrats in control of either house," said Stephen Wayne.

However, most experts still predict significant Republican gains in November, including perhaps the 40 seat gain they would need to retake control of the House of Representatives.  

You May Like

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs