Monday, August 20, 2012

Swing States

It's an axiom proven and tested
By candidates besting and bested:
If you're looking to win,
Mind the jobless rate in
All the states where the outcome's contested.

As we all know, the economy - especially employment - is the main issue in this 2012 Presidential campaign. If the pace of job creation quickens to the extent of reducing the national 8.3% unemployment rate, those undecided votes swing to President Obama; if it doesn't, the advantage goes to the challenger, Mr. Romney. That's why, in this summer of our discontent, it has to raise concerns and hopes respectively that the unemployment rate has ticked up in many of the so-called "battleground states".

According to the Wall Street Journal, 9 out of 10 pivotal states saw their unemployment rates increase in July. That includes Iowa, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Virginia and, somewhat less so, Colorado and North Carolina. Ohio held steady after 11 months of decline. In a cruel twist of statistics, many of the higher jobless rates resulted from an improving labor climate; that is, more workers got into the job pool with rising expectations of finding employment, thus increasing the denominator in the unemployment rate.

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