Will Obama’s Post-Sandy Bump Be Negated by Unemployment Numbers?

There are now only three more days until we get to vote for who we want to lead the country for the next four years, and I have lost the confidence I held a week ago; I have gone from being 75 percent certain of a Romney victory to a roughly 60 percent certainty.

Before Hurricane Sandy, whom I’m beginning to suspect was a Democrat, Mitt Romney enjoyed a one-point lead in the national polls as averaged by Real Clear Politics, my go-to source for polling. In the days right before Sandy made landfall, that lead fell to 0.8 points. After Sandy finally did make landfall, both Romney’s and President Obama’s numbers rose by 0.3 points. But on Halloween, the average shows that Romney’s numbers began to fall while Obama’s continued to climb. This led to Obama on Wednesday enjoying a 0.1-point lead over Romney, and then increasing that lead by another 0.2 points yesterday.

The sentiment seems to be, sure, Obama has failed to lead the country in the last four years, but in the final week before an election he does a comparatively adequate job, so let’s re-elect him.

But the unemployment numbers came out yesterday, the final jobs report before Election Day. September unemployment, you may remember, saw a suspicious decline in unemployment, which dropped to an artificial 7.8 percent. Artificial, I say, because the reason it was so low was because so many people dropped out of the labor force and were therefore not included in the unemployment numbers. The October jobs report was expected, even by me, to be even better because of seasonal hiring, but as it turns out, it has risen again, back up to 7.9 percent.

Some interesting facts about this jobs report, reported by James Pethokoukis, of the American Enterprise Institute, on Twitter:

  • If the labor-force participation was as high as it was when Obama took office, the unemployment numbers for October would have been 10.6 percent. This means fewer people are working today than when Obama took office.
  • Over the past year, average hourly earnings have risen only 1.6 percent. Because this is less than the inflation rate, it means average hourly earnings have actually gone down.
  • If we had a string of months like October, in which there were 125,000 net new payrolls, it would take 84 months, or seven years, to get to President Bush’s lowest unemployment rate of 4.4 percent.
  • Forty-one months into the recovery, the private sector has seen only a 55-percent recovery of the jobs lost in the recession.
  • In contrast, at the end of the brief period of high unemployment under President Reagan, 100 percent of all lost jobs were recovered after only 10 months.

If Obama’s policies worked, nobody would want him out of the White House. If Obama got us down to a reasonable unemployment rate as quickly as Reagan did, who gave America the strongest recovery ever seen, then Obama would not need to be fired.

But he does need to be fired. Hopefully he has received the last of his post-hurricane bump and his final four days of campaigning will remind people how much they disliked his pettiness and empty rhetoric, and he joins the unemployed masses.