Unemployment and the Presidential Election


One measure that some are using to analyze Barack Obama’s performance as president is the unemployment rate.  It is a key indicator about the economy and about how secure consumers feel.  When Barack Obama first took office in January 2009, the national unemployment rate was at 7.8 percent.  During his time in office, that rate rose to 10 percent in October 2009.  The October 2012 figures were just released showing that the rate is now at 7.9 percent – slightly up from 7.8 percent in September 2012.

Each state is very different in how unemployment is affecting it.  Since Obama took office in January 2009, twenty states have had a decrease in unemployment, 2 have stayed the same, and 28 have had an increase.  Michigan had the largest decrease in unemployment of 2 percentage points going from 11.3 percent in January 2009 to 9.3 percent in September 2012.  New Jersey had the largest increase in unemployment of 2.4 percentage points.  In January 2009 their unemployment rate as 7.4 percent.  It rose to 9.8 percent in September 2012.


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Swing states are the most critical ones political analysts are looking at prior to the election.  Of the 9 swing states between January 2009 and September 2012, 6 had an increase in unemployment, 1 stayed the same, and 2 had a decrease.  Many political analysts believe Ohio is the state that will clinch the presidency for either Obama or Romney.  It had a decrease in unemployment of 1.6 percentage points during the Obama presidency.

Unemployment Rates for Swing States, September 2012 and January 2009

State Sep-12 Jan-09 Change

Electoral Votes

Colorado

8

6.6

1.4

9

Florida

8.7

8.7

0

29

Iowa

5.2

6.1

-0.9

6

Nevada

11.8

9.6

2.2

6

New Hampshire

5.7

5.2

0.5

4

North Carolina

9.6

9

0.6

15

Ohio

7

8.6

-1.6

18

Virginia

5.9

5.8

0.1

13

Wisconsin

7.3

7.2

0.1

10

Check back after the election to see what happened and how much unemployment rates affected the outcome.

Pam Allison is a digital media, marketing strategist, and location intelligence consultant.  You can visit her blog at www.pamallison.com.

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