It's Now Nearly Impossible To Get Below 8 per cent Unemployment By Election Day

Unemployed unemployment sad slow growth

Photo: khteWisconsin via Flickr

Friday’s disappointing jobs report means it is nearly impossible for the unemployment rate to dip below 8 per cent by the time voters head to the polls in November.The unemployment rate held at 8.2 per cent last month, and U.S. payrolls expanded by only 80,000 new net jobs. Now, to get below 8 per cent by election day, the economy would need to add an average of 219,000 new jobs per month through October, according to Hamilton Place Strategies’ Patrick Sims. Given recent growth trends — 149,000 new net jobs added in the past two months combined — it’s highly unlikely that that figure could be reached. 

Unemployment

Photo: Hamilton Place Strategies

The saying will be repeated over and over again until Election Day. “No President since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has been re-elected with an unemployment rate above 7.2 per cent.” Obama started at a 7.8 per cent unemployment rate, and he will not get there before November. 

Obama said in December that he thought an 8 per cent unemployment rate would be possible by Election Day. As the unemployment rate started to decline, pundits pegged that “promise” as Obama’s magic number. 

For context, the midst of the Great Depression in 1940, Roosevelt was re-elected amid an unemployment rate of 14.2 per cent. But the last president to be re-elected at the high rate of 7.2 per cent was Ronald Reagan in 1984, who swept through the country en route to the biggest electoral college victory in history. 

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