Entries in Unemployment (36)


Unemployment Drops in Presidential Battleground States

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- Unemployment dropped in all but two presidential battleground states last month, according to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In New Hampshire and Virginia, the rate stayed the same. All but one battleground (New Hampshire) has seen its unemployment rate drop over the past year.

BLS Friday released preliminary state numbers that will be revised, meaning small changes could conceivably reverse when BLS reexamines them. See all states here.

President Obama leads most battleground states according to the latest polls from NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist and CBS/New York Times/Quinnipiac. Some states have not been polled by those outlets since September, but the latest numbers are linked to the right of states below. As Mitt Romney has surged nationally after his strong performance in the first presidential debate, some figures below predate a shift in opinion nationwide, and it has yet to be determined if that shift occurred in these states.

State     Aug.      Sept.   1-yr change Last Poll
CO        8.2%      8.0%    -.2%         R +1
FL        8.8%      8.7%    -1.7%        O +1
IA        5.5%      5.2%    -.7%         O +8
NV        12.1%    11.8%    -1.8%        O +2
NH        5.7%      5.7%    +.3%         O +7
NC        9.7%      9.3%    -.9%         O +2
OH        7.2%      7.0%    -1.6%        O +6
VA        5.9%      5.9%    -.4%         R+1/O+5
WI        7.5%      7.3%    -.1%         O +6

ABC News rates Michigan and Pennsylvania as solidly blue. On the trend, they split:

MI        9.4%      9.3%    -.9%
PA        8.1%      8.2%    +.2%

Nevada, Michigan, and North Carolina retain the worst unemployment rates of any state listed above. Nevada, which rated first in foreclosures per home unit throughout the housing crisis, has suffered the worst economy of any competitive battleground state.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Says Jobs Report Is ‘Terrible’ and ‘Very Disappointing’

Jeff Swensen/Getty Images(PITTSBURGH) -- The new jobs report is “terrible” and “very disappointing,” Mitt Romney said Friday, adding that Americans awoke to “not good news this morning.”

“We should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs created per month. This is way, way off from what should happen in a normal recovery,” Romney said in an interview on Fox and Friends on Friday morning.

The economy created 115,000 jobs in April, which was below economists’ expectations of about 160,000 new jobs.

The private sector, which factors out government layoffs and hiring, saw 130,000 workers added to payrolls.

The presumptive GOP presidential nominee said the reason the unemployment rate is dropping is not because more people are finding jobs but because “more people are dropping out of the workforce than you have getting jobs.”

Asked whether he is concerned that President Obama will be able to campaign and promote the jobs numbers, Romney indicated he was not.

“I think the American people know that their lives are not better than they were three and a half years ago,” he said. “They know that the incomes in this country have not risen, they’ve fallen. They know the president in his first months in office said that he would hold unemployment below 8 percent and we’ve had 38 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Jobs Data Induces GOP Assault on President’s Economic Policies

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- While the White House believes that Friday’s jobs report is “further evidence” the economy is improving, House Republicans sharply disagreed with that assessment, launching an assault on President Obama for “failed economic policies” that “are the root cause of our anemic recovery.”

“Today’s report shows that families and small businesses are still struggling to get by because of President Obama’s failed economic policies,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote in a statement. “Unemployment is far too high, paychecks are shrinking, gas prices are rising faster than ever, and our debt now exceeds the size of our entire economy.  Unfortunately, the president is refusing to get serious about addressing our fiscal and economic challenges.”

The U.S. economy created just 120,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department announced Friday morning, 90,000 jobs below economists’ expectations. The unemployment rate also fell one-tenth of a point to 8.2 percent.

Rep. Michele Bachmann said that the data “represents another month of broken promises by President Obama.”

“He promised that if the stimulus passed, unemployment would not go above eight percent, but today we witness another month with unemployment above eight percent,” Bachmann, R-Minn., stated. “When will President Obama admit that his policies aren’t working, that government doesn’t create jobs and finally unleash the free market to create millions of high paying jobs?”

Earlier this week, the Natural Resources committee also subpoenaed the Department of the Interior to gain access to records projecting significant job loss as a result of the president’s rewrite of coal regulation, the 2008 Stream Buffer Zone Rule, implemented quickly after he took office.

As blame for the price of energy is a popular area of disagreement on the campaign trail for both President Obama and the four remaining GOP candidates, House Republicans ganged up on the president for double-talking on an “all-of-the-above” energy plan.

Democrats, however, defended the president and shifted blame to Republicans for frustrating their party’s efforts to rebuild the economy.

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said the jobs report “is a further sign that the policies implemented over the past three years by President Obama and Congressional Democrats are working.”

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi also took her colleagues across the aisle to task for struggling last month to pass a long-term highway bill. Instead, Boehner and the GOP settled for a temporary 90-day extension while members craft longer bill.

On Thursday, President Obama signed the JOBS Act into law, marking a rare moment of bipartisan cooperation in Washington’s effort to strengthen the economy. But as the Democratic leadership contends “it’s long past due” for the GOP to join them on their proposals, the prospect for bipartisan cooperation may be fleeting as both parties are steadfast that their own policies are best to enact.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


After Unemployment Flub, Santorum Admits He Sometimes Wishes for ‘Do-Over’

AFP/Getty Images(EAST PEORIA, Ill.) -- Hours after he said he doesn’t “care what the unemployment rate’s going to be,” Rick Santorum admitted to an Illinois crowd that he sometimes wishes he had the opportunity for a “do-over.”

“Issues are important in a campaign.  But over the next four years, who knows what issues the next president’s going to have to confront.  And you’re going to be voting for a person.  You’re going to be voting whether that person has the character, the integrity, the honesty, and the courage to be able to take on the challenges that this country faces.  And that’s what I’ve tried to do in this campaign,” Santorum said Monday night during a rally outside Davis Bros Restaurant.

“Now when you got out there and you don’t talk from a teleprompter, and you’re not, you know, reading notes that someone else gave you, occasionally you say something things, you wish you had a, you know, a do-over,” he said.  “But you know what, I think it’s important that you get a sense of how real the candidate is, mistakes and all.”

During a campaign stop in Moline earlier on Monday, Santorum argued that freedom formed the basis of his campaign, but as he tried to make his point, he slipped up and made the unemployment comment, which his main rival, Mitt Romney, quickly pounced on and used in a speech in Peoria.

Santorum later attempted to clarify his statement to reporters, saying he was concerned about unemployment rates but that his “candidacy doesn’t hinge” on them.

He steered clear of citing what he believes will be the most important issue in the 2012 election and instead pointed to a host of “big issues” in the race.

“This is an election about big things.  Sure, there are a lot of big issues -- the economy’s a big issue, unemployment’s a big issue.  Our national security and what’s going on with a nuclear Iran is a big issue,” he said.

Santorum, who is trailing Romney in the polls in Illinois, will spend its primary night (Tuesday) in Gettysburg, Pa.

Hogan Gidley, national communications director for Santorum, explained in a statement that the site was selected in honor of President Abraham Lincoln’s delivery of “his most poignant and passionate defense of freedom and the American spirit.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Says He Cares About Unemployment Rate -- Unlike Santorum

Joe Raedle/Getty Images(PEORIA, Ill.) -- Mitt Romney seized on a remark made by fellow presidential candidate Sen. Rick Santorum Monday to distinguish himself, telling a group of mostly college students on the eve of their professional futures, that unlike his chief GOP rival, he cares about the joblessness in the U.S.

“I am concerned about the people that are out of work,” said Romney, who held a town hall Monday evening at Bradley University. “One of the people who is running also for the Republican nomination today said that he doesn’t care about the unemployment rate, that does bother me. I do care about the unemployment rate. It does bother me.”

Earlier Monday at a campaign event in Moline, Ill., Santorum had remarked, “I don’t care what the unemployment rate’s going to be. It doesn’t matter to me. My campaign doesn’t hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates.”

When Romney took questions from the crowd at his event, the first two audience members asked about social issues.

“So you’re all for like, ‘Yay, freedom,’ and all this stuff,” said one female student, `And, yay, like, pursuit of happiness.’ You know what would make me happy? Free birth control.”

Romney, who had been nodding along with the young woman as she spoke about his pledge for freedom, responded, “You know, you know, let me tell you, no no, look, look let me tell you something. If you’re looking, if you’re looking for free stuff, if you’re looking for free stuff you don’t have to pay for? Vote for the other guy, that’s what he’s all about, OK?”

“That’s not, that’s not what I’m about,” said Romney, as the crowd cheered. “You have the choice in this country of doing something which politicians have been promoting for years. Politicians get up and promise you all sorts of free stuff. Alright, and say I’m going to give you more and more stuff, and you won’t have to pay for it. And you know what, we get elected that way in many cases, politicians do, that’s not something I subscribe to. My own view is that we have to tell people the truth, and we’re going to have to demand sacrifice of the American people. The idea of borrowing a trillion dollars more than we take in is not just bad economics, it’s immoral.  I’m not going to do it, and I’m not going to promise what can’t be delivered.”

The second question came from another woman in the audience who said that while her question was not specifically about birth control, she wanted to know where Romney suggests women get care such as HPV vaccines and mammograms, given that he does not support women’s clinics such as Planned Parenthood.

“Well they can go wherever they’d like to go this is a free society,” said Romney, frankly. “But here’s what I’d say -- which is, the federal government should not tax these people to pay for Planned Parenthood. There are a lot of things by the way, there are a lot of things that we have in our society that we may like, or we may not like, but the government shouldn’t be paying for.”

“And the idea of the federal government funding Planned Parenthood? I’m going to say no, we’re going to stop that,” he added.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Poll: Six in 10 Criticize War in Afghanistan

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sixty percent of Americans say the war in Afghanistan has not been not worth fighting and just 30 percent believe the Afghan public supports the U.S. mission there—marking the sour state of attitudes on the war even before the shooting rampage allegedly by a U.S. soldier this weekend.

Indeed a majority in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, 54 percent, say the United States should withdraw its forces from Afghanistan without completing its current effort to train Afghan forces to become self-sufficient.

The survey was completed Saturday. Early Sunday, a U.S. service member allegedly left his base in Kandahar and shot and killed more than a dozen civilians in two nearby villages, an incident certain to raise tensions already inflamed by the U.S. military’s inadvertent burning of Muslim holy books at Bagram Air Base last month. That incident sparked violent protests, including a series of incidents in which Afghan soldiers have turned their guns on U.S. forces.

Against that backdrop, the number of Americans who say the war has not been worth fighting, at 60 percent, is up by 6 points from its level last June to just 4 points from its peak, 64 percent, a year ago. Intensity of sentiment is deeply negative: Forty-four percent feel “strongly” that the war has not been worth fighting. Just 17 percent, by contrast, support it strongly.

Criticism of the war had been assuaged to some extent last year by the drawdown of U.S. forces, a step backed by 78 percent of Americans in an ABC/Post poll last month. Taking another tack, this poll, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, asked if the United States should keep its forces in Afghanistan until it has trained the Afghan Army to be self-sufficient, or withdraw even without accomplishing that task. Given those competing interests, 43 percent favor completing the training effort; 54 percent, as noted, opt for withdrawal regardless.

While the war lacks majority support on the basis of a cost-benefit evaluation for the United States, support is further eroded by the fact that 55 percent of Americans think most Afghans themselves do not support U.S. efforts in their country, and an additional 15 percent are unsure. Just three in 10 think the U.S. mission enjoys majority support.

Partisanship informs views on the war. Democrats and political independents see it as not worth fighting by broad 40- and 31-point margins, respectively, while Republicans divide evenly on the question. Similarly, liberals and moderates are critical of the war by 49- and 27-point margins; conservatives share this view much more narrowly, by 9 points. And while nearly six in 10 Republicans favor staying until Afghan forces are trained, that drops to 37 percent among others.

A renewal of critical views could have political ramifications for President Obama’s re-election effort. Discontent with the war in Iraq, at similar levels as views on Afghanistan today, badly damaged George W. Bush’s presidency, marking the risk for Obama, especially in an election year.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by telephone March 7-10, 2012, among a random national sample of 1,003 adults, including landline and cell-phone-only respondents. Results have a margin of sampling error of 4.0 points for the full sample.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Former Obama Economic Adviser Warns Unemployment Could Rise

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- The economy added more jobs than expected in each of the past three months, pushing down the unemployment rate to 8.3 percent and marking the best six-month streak of jobs numbers since 2008.

But President Obama’s former economic adviser said Sunday that this seemingly rosy economic picture probably won’t last.

“I think the main thing that [President Obama] ought to worry anybody is that the growth rate is probably not as sustainable as at high a rate as it’s been, so the pace of expansion, which for six months has been pretty impressive, it may just slow down a bit,” Austan Goolsbee, now an ABC News contributor, said Sunday on This Week.

Goolsbee said he did not think the economy would plunge into a “double dip” recession, but warned that the growth rate would likely slow from 3 percent to 1.5-2 percent. He also said the unemployment rate, which could be vital to Obama’s re-election, could spike upward after six months of decreasing rates.

“As the economy’s improving, you’re also going to see, as you have the last couple of months, a whole lot of people coming out of the labor force, back into the job market,” Goolsbee said. “So the unemployment rate might actually go back up.”

While having more long-term unemployed people jump back into the work force is good in the long run, former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer said the corresponding uptick in the unemployment rate “could look bad” for the president’s re-election bid.

That mess of economic numbers is not what people are going to be basing their votes on come November, Republican strategist Mary Matalin argued.

“Let me go to the reality zone,” Matalin said on “This Week.” “People who are voting do not measure their economic stability or sustainability on the employment numbers, on the labor force participation, on the Dow or the Nasdaq.  They measure it by the pump, filling up their car.”

Matalin said instead of focusing on the unemployment rate, Obama should train his sights on the rising price of gas, groceries and health care premiums. All of those, she said, are issues that independent voters, who are vital to any candidate’s election success, “blame on Obama.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


“Don’t Muck it Up,” Obama Warns Congress

JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images(ARLINGTON, Va.) -- Encouraged by the latest employment statistics Friday, President Obama said to Congress on the economic recovery: “Don’t muck it up.”

The Labor Department announced that the economy created 243,000 jobs in January, better than most economists’ expectations. Unemployment dropped to 8.3%, marking the fifth straight month the highly watched index has decreased. Republicans say the uptick is not enough to signal the robust economic growth the country needs.

“The economy is growing stronger. The recovery is speeding up. And we’ve got to do everything in our power to keep it going,” the president said at Fire Station #5 in Arlington, Va., where firefighters were among the first to respond to the Pentagon on 9/11.

The president called on lawmakers to extend the payroll tax cut through the end of the year and to “do it without drama.”

“They just need to get it done. It shouldn’t be that complicated. Now is not the time for self-inflicted wounds to our economy. Now’s the time for action. So I want to send a clear message to Congress. Do not slow down the recovery that we’re on. Don’t muck it up.”

The economy has now created more than 200,000 jobs for two months in a row and the president pointed out that 3.7 million new jobs have been created over the last 23 months.

Still, other data suggests that more than one million Americans have dropped out of the labor force, meaning according to the Labor Department, they're no longer unemployed -- but as CNBC's Rick Santelli and other experts point out, they haven't found jobs, either.

The president’s remarks came as he outlined his latest plan to help veterans get back to work. “Our veterans are some of the most highly trained, highly educated, highly skilled workers that we’ve got. These are Americans that every business should be competing to attract. These are the Americans we want to keep serving here at home as we rebuild this country,” the president said.

Following up on a proposal in his State of the Union address, the president announced plans for a “Veterans Job Corps” to help veterans find work as first responders and law enforcement officers. He proposed a conservation program to put up to 20,000 veterans back to work restoring the nation’s public lands.

“We’re going to do everything we can to make sure that when our troops come home, they come home to new jobs and new opportunities and new ways to serve their country.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Anita Perry Sympathizes with Worker Citing Son’s Resignation 

Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- In an attempt to sympathize with unemployed workers in South Carolina Friday, Anita Perry likened her son’s resignation from an investment banking job to the frustration felt by the unemployed in America.

An audience member at Dyers Diner in Pendleton, S.C. explained that he lost his six-figure job and now works at an hourly rate, according to attendees at the event.

The struggle to find a well paying job changed his outlook on unemployment in this country.

“I used to be looking at people ‘ah you deserved what you got.’ I used to be that way, I’m just being completely honest, you know the reason you’re in a bad situation is because you’re just a loser,” the audience member said. “I was a mean guy. I thought you went out and got that big bonus because you worked hard and that God didn’t give it to me, I got it. You know so, it’s a different thing.”

Perry, wife of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, proceeded to tell him she sympathized with him and shared her frustration that her son had to quit his job at Deutsche Bank after federal regulations barred him from campaigning for his father.

“Our son had resigned his job because of the federal regulations that Washington has put on us,” Anita said. “He resigned his job two weeks ago. Because he can’t go out and campaign for his father because of SEC regulations.”

Last week, Griffin Perry told ABC News he quit his job at Deutsche Bank to open a consulting firm, which would allow him to campaign more on behalf of his father, but he did not mention any federal regulations steering his decision.

Griffin Perry is campaigning in Florida Saturday and will attend a picnic for the Hispanic Republican Club of Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties as well as touring the Tampa Gun Show and touring the Hillsborough County Fair.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Romney Blames Unemployment Rate on Obama's 'Failed Economic Policies'

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Gov. Mitt Romney blamed Friday’s stagnant unemployment rate on President Barack Obama’s “failed economic policy.”
“What you’re seeing now is the result of a failed economic policy from a president who has been in office for three years and is looking for someone to blame,” said Romney Friday morning on Fox and Friends.
The jobs report released Friday morning showed that American companies added 103,000 jobs to their payrolls in September, exceeding economist expectation of a 60,000 gain. But that total number includes 45,000 Verizon workers who returned from work after a strike. 

In addition, revisions to the previous two months’ reports added more than 90,000 jobs, including moving last month’s jobs report from zero jobs added to 57,000.
But the nation’s unemployment rate remained stagnant at 9.1 percent. According to the report, 14 million Americans wanted to work last month but were unable to find a job.
“You can learn some lessons from Ronald Reagan, from what he did after the recession when he came into office,” said Romney. “When he came into office he made sure government wasn’t burdening the enterprise system, kept taxes low, held down regulation and expanded trade around the world.”
“And in the month of September following the recession he inherited we actually created more than 1 million jobs,” he added.
Asked what he thinks about the president’s job bill and if he thinks he’s trying to “portray Congress and a bunch of political do -othings,” Romney responded. “I think he’s having a very hard time doing that.”
"The American people remember that for the first two years of this president’s administration after he inherited the recession he had a Democrat House and a Democratic Senate -- he had his way with legislation,” said Romney. “He could do whatever he wanted he passed a massive stimulus bill he said [would] hold unemployment under eight percent.”
“It hasn’t been below eight percent since he’s had his way, and trying to find someone new to blame is simply not going to work,” said Romney.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio