Mixed news for Obama as he looks for convention ‘bounce’ in polls
Unemployment in the US fell in August, according to figures released yesterday, giving president Barack Obama mixed economic news as he tried to pick up a so-called convention “bounce” in the opinion polls.
The Bureau of Labour Statistics announced that 96,000 jobs were created during the month, dropping the US unemployment rate by 0.2 per cent to 8.1 per cent.
But the figures were worse than expected, with experts having predicted 125,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate remained above 8 per cent for the 43rd month in a row, casting doubt on the strength of an already fragile economic recovery.
“The unemployment rate fell only because 581,000 workers quit looking for work and are no longer counted in the official jobless tally,” said economist Peter Morici of the University of Maryland.
“The most effective jobs programme appears to be to convince working-aged adults they don’t need a job.”
The news will be disappointing to Mr Obama, whose speech to delegates in Charlotte featured a promise to create one million manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016.
Consequently, analysts say he cannot expect any immediate surge in the polls for November’s election.
“If somehow there had been 250,000 new jobs, or only 10,000, that would have changed things,” said professor Steven Greene of North Carolina State University. “I can’t imagine Obama’s bounce after the convention being more than a point or two, or lasting more than a couple of weeks.”
Republican hopeful Mitt Romney said the report showed Mr Obama’s policies were not working.
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