News / USA

Poor US Job Numbers Play Key Factor in Presidential Race

Poor US Job Numbers Play Key Factor in Presidential Racei
|| 0:00:00
X
Mil Arcega
September 08, 2012 3:25 AM
The U.S. economy added just 96,000 jobs in August, fewer than economists were expecting. The jobless rate fell from 8.3 to 8.1 percent - but only because more Americans stopped looking for work. Financial analysts say the latest job numbers could play a big role in the coming presidential elections. But as Mil Arcega reports, economic factors outside the United States, however, also may be at play.

Poor US Job Numbers Play Key Factor in Presidential Race

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy added just 96,000 jobs in August, fewer than economists were expecting. The jobless rate fell from 8.3 to 8.1 percent - but only because more Americans stopped looking for work. Financial analysts say the latest job numbers could play a big role in the coming presidential elections. Economic factors outside the United States, however, also may be at play.

The August job numbers mark the 30th month of private-sector job growth, though just barely. Experts say the economy needs to add at least 100,000 new jobs each month just to keep up with population growth.  

Economist Marcus Schomer at Pinebridge Investments called the latest jobs report underwhelming.

"The non-farm payroll number 96,000, that was quite disappointing. I was looking for a much stronger increase. In fact, my forecast was 175,000," said Schomer.

So what happened? Schomer believes the job numbers reflect growing uncertainty over the country's economic direction.  

"It is the uncertainty over taxes, the uncertainty over spending, the uncertainty over politics, the uncertainty over Congress and I think that's exactly what's holding back business activity, business sentiment and at the end of the day, it's holding back hiring," said Schomer.

With less than nine weeks to go before Americans head to the polls, the sluggish job market could hurt President Barack Obama's re-election chances.

Michael K. Farr is head of an investment firm in Washington and has written several books on surviving the economic downturn. He said the latest job numbers could be problematic for the president.

"It's crucial politically, it's less crucial economically. I think, you can look back and there have been no presidents re-elected when unemployment's north of [above] 8% [since World War II], so for President Obama, this is a very tricky detail," said Farr.

External factors also could play an outsized role in whether companies hire workers. Farr said a downturn in Europe - the United States' largest trading partner - may hurt the president.

"Europe is a huge threat right now. The euro and the survival of the euro in what are insolvent, sovereign economies. It's hard to call Europe a surprise, but it could be the October problem," said Farr.

The unemployment rate has remained above 8 percent since February 2009, a fact Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney argues is reason for Americans to choose a new leader.  

But in accepting his nomination for a second term, Obama asked for more time. And on Friday, he reminded Americans that his policies have added 4.6 million private-sector jobs - following the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression.

You May Like

Turkey's Controversial Reform Bill Giving Investors Jitters

Homeland security reform bill will give police new powers in search, seizure, detention and arrests, while restricting the rights of suspects, their attorneys More

Audio Slideshow In Kenyan Prison, Good Grades Are Path to Freedom

Some inmates who get high marks could see their sentences commuted to non-custodial status More

'Rumble in the Jungle' Turns 40

'The Champ' knocked Foreman out to regain crown he had lost 7 years earlier when US government accused him of draft-dodging and boxing officials revoked his license More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisiai
X
Henry Ridgwell
October 30, 2014 11:39 PM
Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Victorious Secularists Face Challenge to Form Government in Tunisia

Official results from Tunisia show the Islamist Ennahda party has failed to win the second free election since the so-called "Arab Spring" uprising in 2011. Ennahda, which handed power to a government of technocrats pending the elections, lost out to the secular party Nidaa Tounes. Henry Ridgwell reports from London that the relatively peaceful poll offers some hope in a volatile region.
Video

Video Africa Tells its Story Through Fashion

In Africa, Fashion Week is a riot of colors, shapes, patterns and fabrics - against the backdrop of its ongoing struggle between nature and its fast-growing urban edge. How do these ideas translate into needle and thread? VOA’s Anita Powell visited this year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg to find out.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.

All About America

AppleAndroid