Swing States Experience Stable or Falling Unemployment Rates as Election Nears
Of the 41 states the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) reports to have experienced drops in unemployment during September, seven of them were key swing states pivotal for the re-election of Barack Obama. The DOL report also found that unemployment rates rose in six states and remained unchanged in three; two of which are also swing states. Rates dropped in Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, Colorado, Iowa, Nevada, and North Carolina, while remaining stable in New Hampshire and Virginia.
Many of these key states, however, still face high unemployment rates despite the falling trends. For example, North Carolina had a 9.6 percent rate in September and Nevada’s sat at 11.8 percent, both well above the national rate of 7.8 percent. But voters are frequently influenced more by employment trends than the actual rates. Even though Nevada has the nation’s highest unemployment rate, it has also experienced the steepest unemployment decline over the past year, falling 1.8 percent from 13.6 percent.
Virginia, one of the most vital swing states with 13 electoral votes, gained about 11,500 jobs last month; the most of any swing states. The unemployment there also remained at the countries lowest rate of 5.9 percent. Ohio actually lost 12,800 jobs but still managed to realize a fall in its unemployment rate. This suggests that some of the drop arose from workers dropping out of the work force due to frustration over their inability to find employment.