Writing in Business Week, Hans Nichols announced that with the improvement in the economy President Obama’s chances for reelection in 2012 are improving as well.
He noted that the unemployment rate fell last month (from 9.1 percent to 9.0 percent) while unemployment claims dropped (by 10,000). And the outplacement firm of Challenger Gray & Christmas noted that government layoffs have slowed as well. Then he reviewed several different polls that showed improvement in President Obama’s ratings (each still below 50 percent), and then concluded that this mass of positive data is improving the president’s “political prospects.”
The data excluded from Nichols’ analysis shows a different picture. First, the real unemployment rate is nowhere near 9 percent, but is much closer to 15 percent, with some analysts suggesting more than 20 percent.
Second, the number of unemployed, if he had bothered to check the numbers published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), was 13,967,000 in August and 13,897,000 in October, a decrease of 70,000 in three months, or a decline of one-half of one percent, hardly enough to mention much less build a case around. Thirdly, he gets the government layoffs number right: They have been continuing steadily. According to the BLS,
Government employment continued to trend down over the month with most of the October decline in the non-educational component of state government. Employment in both state government and local government has been trending down since the second half of 2008.
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Photo of Barack Obama: AP Images