No Jobs Added In August; Can Obama Survive?
A new government report shows that the U.S. gained zero—yes, zero, zip, nada—net jobs in the month of August. That means any jobs made were cancelled out by new losses. While that stinks for all of us, it’s especially bad news for President Obama, who is already facing an angry pack of Republican candidates hoping to use the economy against him in 2012.
(To be fair, the numbers might not be as bad as they seem: striking Verizon workers added 45,000 unemployed for the month. But any jobs added were still nowhere near the benchmarks set for recovery.)
No president has ever been relected with unemployment higher than 7.2%; it’s currently at 9.1%, and is expected to rise unless hundreds of thousands of jobs are added every month.
But unemployment figures aren’t necessary to see how much trouble the president is in. Obama’s approval ratings were at an all-time low of 40%, and that was before the jobs report was released. The president’s inability to revive the economy is the cornerstone of every Republican presidential campaign so far: Rep. Michele Bachmann blasted the president, saying his only jobs plan was to “spend more, tax more, borrow more.”
Obama fired back at a Labor Day rally in Detroit, challenging Republicans to “put country before party.”
The president also provide a few specific ideas, suggesting that future plans include construction on American infrastructure:
We’ve got roads and bridges across this country that need rebuilding. We’ve got private companies with the equipment and the manpower to do the building. We’ve got more than 1 million unemployed construction workers ready to get dirty right now…Labor is on board. Business is on board. We just need Congress to get on board.
The president is set to unveil a complete jobs plan on Thursday, Sept. 8.