Unemployment Rate at Low of 8.3 Percent

by on December 12th, 2010
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COMMENTARY | Although many states and regions are experiencing higher rates of unemployment — such as Nevada, with a jobless rate exceeding 13 percent — the nation’s unemployment rate as a whole lies at 8.3 percent. Additionally, over 243,000 jobs were created this past January, and over 2 million jobs were created over the past twelve months, two figures which have likewise shocked analysts, according to the New York Times. In a tenuous political environment in which Obama was undoubtedly going to be criticized for his role in the faltering economy, critics have one less figure which they can throw at him.

Nevertheless, these statistics are believed to change the course of strategy for President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent — most likely Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor. It is believed Obama will have to walk a fine line in between staying optimistic — the economy has gotten somewhat better after all — and remorseful, as swaying too much in either direction will send the wrong message.

Individuals are still suffering with foreclosures and the still above-average unemployment rates, which would make Obama seem rather aloof if he is too optimistic. If he is too negative or too forgiving, people will look at him in a negative light for obvious reasons, so he has tough shoes to fill.

As for Romney, the problem is simple, but not so easy to solve. The Republican ticket has been harping on Obama’s inability to fix the economy — and in fact, worsen the problem — ever since he got into office, and up until this point, such an argument has had credence. Now with these new statistics, one cannot make the definitive argument that the economy has worsened; as aforementioned, unemployment rates are back to the levels that they were when Obama entered office.

(To play the devil’s advocate, the numbers may be slightly skewed because of underemployment, people giving up on looking for job’s, etc., but who’s to say that such wasn’t the case before.) Romney — or whoever else — will have to find a new central point on which to criticize the Obama administration, and while doing such shouldn’t be too difficult, it still is something that must be carefully considered.

Anyway, this piece of news should greatly affect the political strategies of both parties, and we’ll see how the story unfolds in the coming weeks. If you see an issue other than the economy becoming more prominent in forthcoming debates, don’t say I didn’t tell you so.

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