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
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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

46 people are confirmed dead, but some 250 remain trapped inside sunken ferry More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid