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The Bureau of Labor Statistics probably made the GOP unhappy again Friday with its latest report, but no conspiracy tweets emanated from Jack Welch this time. Two weeks ago, when the monthly jobs report was released, the former General Electric CEO kicked off a Twitterstorm and days of commentary when he suggested that the Obama administration had cooked the numbers to get a better outcome than was truly the case. This Friday's numbers provide a breakdown of the unemployment rate state by state that cannot be creating many smiles at Republican HQ.
Forty-one states and the District of Columbia recorded unemployment rate decreases, six states posted rate increases, and three states had no change, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Forty-four states and the District of Columbia registered unemployment rate decreases from a year earlier, while six states experienced increases. [...]
In September 2012, nonfarm payroll employment increased in 35 states and the District of Columbia and decreased in 15 states.
The unemployment rate in California, Nevada and Rhode Island is still greater than 10.0 percent. Six states have rates exceeding 9.0 percent. But the rates in 13 states are below 6.0 percent. More important, the rates are within 2.0 percentage rates of what they were when the Great Recession began in December 2007. Many heartland states weren't hit by the worst effects of the recession because they didn't participate in the housing boom and subsequent bust that devastated many state economies. They have continued to have comparatively low unemployment rates. Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said
Whether it's the resurgence of the auto industry in the Midwest, the emergence of new industries like renewable energy in Colorado and Nevada, or the pickup in the housing market, there's no doubt that we've made a lot of progress since the economy crashed in 2008.
Our friends at the Economic Policy Institute have a pair of excellent interactive maps showing the jobless rates by state and the change in the number of jobs since December 2007 here
Doug Hall at EPI writes:
Despite these positive economic trends, looming budget cuts at the federal level would undermine economic recovery at the state level. For example, the cuts scheduled through sequestration would have a devastating impact on both state budgets and state economies.
What the actual impact on the election might be is difficult to discern. The only place it really matters is battleground states. For instance, although California still has an unemployment rate of 10.2 percent, it's deep blue for President Obama. The big fights are in places like Michigan and Ohio, states that took big hits and benefited from the administration's stimulus package and other economic policies. Josh Mitchell writes
of two of the battleground states:
Ohio added 88,700 new jobs over the past year—more than any of the battleground states—many tied to the auto industry, the data show. The Buckeye state's jobless rate fell to 7% from 8.6% during that time, a steeper drop than the national rate. But Ohio's rebound has slowed lately.
Wisconsin, meantime, is the only battleground state to lose jobs—both public and private—over the past year. Unemployment there slid just a tenth of a percentage point to 7.3% in September from a year earlier—the worst performance among the battleground states except for New Hampshire, where the rate ticked up.
John W. Schoen has analyzed
prospects in the 10 battleground states, without making predictions of how things will turn out. Two examples:
Michigan: 16 electoral votes/ 9.3 percent unemployment:
Michigan was one of the states hardest hit by the near collapse of the auto industry in 2008, which is why the Obama campaign has gone to great lengths to take credit for providing the industry with government help. From a peak of 14.2 percent in mid-2009, the jobless rate has fallen steadily.
But only because, like Ohio, a big chunk of Michigan’s labor force has left the state’s job market.
While car sales may have rebounded in the past year, employment in Michigan is still half a million jobs below pre-recession levels. That’s slightly more than the 420,000 people who are no longer looking for work in the state. [...]
Nevada 6 electoral votes/11.8 percent unemployment:
Like its housing market, Nevada saw one of the sharpest reversals of fortune in the jobs numbers when the recession sent the unemployment rate from a pre-recession 4.2 percent to a peak of 14.0 percent in October 2010. Since then, the recovery has been steady, but slow.
Obama recovered some lost ground among older Nevada voters since his first-debate against Romney, according to a new poll, commissioned by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and 8NewsNow, that shows the president holding a three-point edge over Romney, 48 percent to 45 percent.
Romney expanded his lead over Obama among independents, according to the survey.
All told, there are 126 electoral votes in those 10 battleground states.