If this is starting to sound familiar, you’ve probably been reading the news.
The US unemployment rate rose again today, according to a just-released government survey. While the economy added 163,000 jobs last month, households reported 195,000 layoffs. In addition, CNNMoney reports:
The household survey showed that 852,000 “discouraged workers” were not counted in the labor force, because they did not look for a job in the last four weeks.
The so called “underemployment rate” rose to 15%, its highest level since January. That includes people who are unemployed, as well as those who are working part-time because they can’t find full-time jobs, and those that have looked for a job sometime in the last year.
The survey also showed that most of the hiring that did take place put workers in low-quality jobs and temp work, and that some of the bright spots in hiring (such as the auto industry) were one-time flashes.
The bottom line is bad news for the President. This survey heralded the third month of higher unemployment, and the 41st month of unemployment above 8%, which has got many Americans feeling deja vu. Even Mitt Romney’s response to the new numbers sounded familiar – last month they were “a kick in the gut,” this month they were “a blow to struggling middle-class families.”
Right now, unemployment is the number one issue driving the presidential race. If this recent trend of higher unemployment continues, it’s tough to see the upshot for the President. Even trying to spin the figures by saying that hiring rose would be a tough task because firing rose also. But it remains to be seen if Republicans can capitalize on the new figures – polls have found Romney and Obama basically tied since May.