Employment Rate in Swing States Improving at a Better Clip Than the National Rate

The August unemployment numbers are out and the politicos are spinning them. The big headline is the jobless rate rose slightly in more than half the states to a national averge of 8.1 percent, but in big 2012 swing states—Ohio, Florida and Virginia—it did not change. And in Colorado, the number fell a fraction of a percent.

No one is suggesting the economy is anywhere near where it should be. But these four swing states account for a total of 69 Electoral College votes. In the other swing states (Iowa, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire and Nevada) where the rate rose slightly, there are 57 Electoral College votes.

Mitt Romney spoke about the August numbers in two appearances Friday, calling them a “hangover” after a night of big partying. But one can but wonder if it’s not Romney who is feeling bleary-eyed, because in the cold calculus of Electoral College math—it’s the swing states that matter, not the overall national averages.

In Iowa and New Hampshire, where the rate went up a pinch, it still was in the mid-5 percent range, which is well below the national average. Michigan, an Obama-leaning state with 16 Electoral College votes had the biggest jump, from 9 percent to 9.4 percent. But Romney’s comments he would not have bailed out the automobile industry hasn’t helped him win hearts and minds there.  

Friday’s jobless report might have offered Romney a respite after two terrible weeks where his offensive remarks have turned vast numbers of likely voters against him, according to almost every national poll. But buried in the fine print of Electoral College math, Obama’s appars to be retaining yet another edge.

Here's a link to the full federal report from the Labor Department.

AlterNet / By Steven Rosenfeld

Posted at September 21, 2012, 10:47am

Today's Top Stories