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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid