Drop in Unemployment Figure Gives President a Boost

New York, 6 October 2012

It was a welcome piece of good news for the President after a lacklustre debate performance. The US jobless rate has fallen to the lowest rate since the month President Obama took office.

The latest figure shows unemployment fell to 7.8 percent from 8.1 percent. It’s a small but significant drop.

This would be good news anyway but in this election year it plays in three important ways.

First, it challenges the Romney campaign’s central argument that the President’s economic policies aren’t working and that it will take him, Romney, to put it right. This indicator gives strength to Obama’s argument that the economy is mending and the recovery is in progress.

Secondly it takes the wind out of what could have been a Republican recovery after Romney’s successful first debate.

Thirdly it deprives Romney of his line of attack that under Obama America has endured “43 straight months with unemployment above eight percent.”

Campaigning in Virginia and Ohio, Obama seized on the figures. Romney sought to play them down.

Most Americans would struggle to see a difference on the ground but that 0.3% has a greater political significance than the decimal point suggests.

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