July’s state unemployment numbers came out this morning, and the numbers do not look good for President Barack Obama. The report shows unemployment rose in 44 states last month, including 9 out of the 10 key battleground states where Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney have focused their campaign money and resources.
We have pointed out before that Obama has benefited from better economic conditions in the swing states. But the latest numbers show that his advantage may be slipping as the campaign heads into the critical three months before the election.
Here are the highlights from the report:
- Nevada had the highest joblessness in the country once again, with the unemployment rate slipping back up to 12%, from 11.6% in June.
- The unemployment rate was also alarmingly high in North Carolina, rising to 9.6% from 9.4% the month prior.
- In Florida, the unemployment rate came dangerously close to the 9% mark, rising from 8.6% in June to 8.8% in July.
- Colorado’s unemployment rate rose with the national average, from 8.2% in June to 8.3% in July.
- The July unemployment in Pennsylvania came closer to the national average, rising from 7.6% in June to 7.9% in July. In Wisconsin, joblessness rose to 7.3%, up from 7% in June.
- Joblessness also rose in states where unemployment has been well below the national average: Unemployment was up from 5.7% to 5.9% in Virginia; from 5.1% to 5.4% in New Hampshire; and from 5.1% to 5.3% in Iowa.
- Ohio was the only swing state last month where unemployment remained the same, at 7.2%.
On the bright side, employers added jobs in five out of 10 swing states – Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Nevada, and North Carolina — last month, mirroring the national unemployment situation in July. Payrolls declined in Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
Of course, it is impossible to draw any major conclusions about the swing state economies from one month of unemployment data. But Chicago will likely be watching these numbers very closely to see how worried they should be about Obama’s chances in the fall.
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