Democrats are crossing their fingers and hoping to narrow both the enthusiasm gap and the spread in the generic ballot in the weeks before the midterm elections. But they’re about to contend, once again, with a sobering reality.
On Friday, the Department of Labor will release its monthly unemployment statistics, and according to an independent analysis, the unemployment rate is likely to rise ever so slightly.
A Bloomberg News survey of 62 economists found that, “Unemployment climbed to 9.7 percent from 9.6 percent in August.”
“The data may also show companies added 77,000 workers to payrolls, and total hiring stagnated amid cuts in government staffing as the decennial census wound down,” according to Bloomberg’s analysis.
In other words, job growth is too anemic to keep up with government job losses and the regular growth of the labor force, leaving a greater percentage of workers without jobs.
Bloomberg also projects that U.S. economic growth is continuing to slow.
While the news is horrendous for American workers, it’s also tough, politically, for Democrats. As the recovery has stalled, President Obama’s approval rating has sunk, and the enthusiasm gap separating energized Republican voters and lethargic Democratic voters has opened up. In recent weeks it had showed signs of narrowing, as voters turned their attentions to November. But the Friday report could blunt that progress.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.