Jobs report gives Obama a last-minute lift

But like the presidential race itself, the strength of the recovery remains too close to call.

By MSNMoney partner Nov 2, 2012 11:45AM
By Rick Newman

The last jobs report before the 2012 elections has given President Barack Obama a modest tailwind. Our Obamanometer reading is close to the highest level it's been at since we started tracking the economy's impact on the race in mid-September.

The Obamanometer seesawed between Obama and Romney for much of late September and early October. But since then, it has increasingly favored Obama, with the latest jobs report likely to anchor the needle on Obama's side during the last few days of the campaign. The report showed that the economy added 171,000 jobs in October, for a total of about 1.9 million so far in 2012.

Like mostly everything else in the economy, that's subpar but going in the right direction. Meanwhile, the unemployment rate for October drifted upward a notch, to 7.9 percent. But that's largely because more people are starting to look for work and are getting counted as unemployed before they actually find a job -- a typical trend during a recovery.

Most of the inputs that determine our Obamanometer reading have been following the same trend: They're not good enough, but at least they're getting better. Gas prices, now around $3.50 per gallon on average, have fallen nearly 30 cents over the past month, according to AAA. The stock market has yoyoed lately, but it's still up nearly 14% for the year. Most indicators show housing finally improving. Consumers are growing more confident, and some economists are beginning to predict buoyant holidays. The only consistently negative metric this fall has been inflation, and that is likely to moderate as gas prices come down and the spike in food prices caused by the summer drought abates.

The bottom line is that Obama can plausibly claim the economy is improving. And Republican challenger Mitt Romney can plausibly claim that it's happening too slowly. If those few key undecided voters have been looking for a strong swing one way or the other to help them sort out whom to vote for, they're not going to get it by Election Day. Like the election itself, the strength of the recovery remains too close to call.

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31Comments
Nov 2, 2012 12:49PM
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Are we all going to ignore the fact that the rate went up? Are we going to ignore the fact that almost 50% of businesses surveyed are warning about layoffs next year? If you are stupid enough to vote for Obo, then... enough said.
Nov 2, 2012 1:20PM
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Unfortunately you may be right on this premise. The tragedy is that the electorate is grossly ignorant of the economic realities that determine the longer term economic health of our nation. The short term indicators you are using to spin for Obama plausibly claiming improvements in the economy are laughable to any reasonably informed person. I do however accept the fact that most of our populace are uninformed about the consequences of our debt, excessive regulations, projected layoffs, 14% real unemployment and corporations projections for reduced capital spending under another Obama presidency.

When nearly half of current college graduates are unable to balance a checkbook correctly, cant define the source of capital formation or accurately descibe how the market works, it is no wonder people on a large scale buy into the superficial indicators you reference.

Everyone would be much better served by listening to Steve Wynn, Mort Zucker, Ken Lagone, the presidents of Caterpillar, John Deere etc, etc. than opinion writers and talk show hosts in the tank for Obama. These are the peope with the most factual and credible insights on where weare and where we are headed.

RECOVERY-WHAT RECOVERY? 

Nov 2, 2012 12:20PM
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And all the people who lost jobs? Lots of companys laying people off like crazy.Also lots of people falling off the unemployment rolls due to them running out of benefits.

       Theres so many articles trying to paint the president in a good light.People look around them and see the reality.And people see what your doing.Its disgusting.I guess there is no unbiased reporting anymore.

Nov 2, 2012 2:11PM
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Interesting that that the market is declining after this this mornings glowing economics reports that will propel Obama to victory. Evidently, most traders believe. as I do, these numbers are bogus and irrelevant as indicators of our future economic well being. 
Nov 2, 2012 12:11PM
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3 1/2 years later , just about anything is an improvement....13 million more on food stamps, UE at 7.9% only because another 5% ran out of benefits, $6 trillion more in debt. 5 jobs for every million of taxpayer money spent. Grow dependency , grow the democrat party. Obumbles sure is doing that.

Nov 2, 2012 5:13PM
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If anyone cares to do some simple math, go to BLS website and subtract the revisions to their reports since Obama took office and you wil discover that there is a net loss of 160,000 jobs during his tenure.

THERE ARE NO NEW JOBS UNDER OBAMA. MSNBC, OBAMA CAMPAIGN, AND HIS SUPPORTERS NEED TO QUIT LYING AND THE AMERCAN WISE UP.

I CHALLENGE YOU ALL TO DEAL WITH REALITY AND DROP THE FANTASY.

DO THE MATH FOR YOURSELF.

Nov 2, 2012 5:14PM
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Only a boost if you are blind, deaf and stupid.
Nov 2, 2012 5:15PM
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Everyone wants to forget his promises and accept his lies and lame excuses. Wake up America.,
Nov 2, 2012 5:23PM
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He doesn't even honor his oath of office to uphold the laws of the US.  Only those he thinks are good. A real f'n commie.
Nov 2, 2012 5:19PM
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LIes, lies and more lies, especially the latest attack on the embassy.

He wouldn't know the truth if it bit him, but he wouldn't care either. Mr transparency won't release any of his own records. That tells you everything you need to know, he has so much to hide. i HATE THE LAME STREAM MEDIA and their liberal nonsense reporting.  BO says don't trust
Romney?  He should watch videos of his 2008  lies **** hope and  change (I hope I am elected and I will change this country into third world).

Nov 2, 2012 5:21PM
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To overcome BO, we need extra strength Right Guard. 

Why no picture ID?  That would stop too many of the illegal votes for BO. 

 Hit Romney and get BO, that's NO COINCIDENCE.

THEY ARE CROOKS JUST LIKE CROOK COUNTY ILLINOIS.

Nov 3, 2012 12:02PM
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If you are in a dumpster buried in trash, you get used to the smell.   If you make it to the top of the pile the view is allot better, but you are still in a dumpster.   It's a horrible place to be,...... and that is our economy!    Your optimism on how good things are puts great reliance on micromovements of largely weak positive indicators.


This article & MSN fail to see the big picture..............Your Obamanator and our economy are still in the Dumpster!

Nov 2, 2012 3:15PM
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The UE rate went up, but 175,000 jobs were created? BS, MSN  must require an Obama button to be worn by all employees, or they will lose their jobs? Just as always, MSN accentuates anything that remotely might help Obama. while ignoring any downside for Obama. Obama says he created five million jobs, and MSN leaves out the fact that 4.5 million jobs were lost in the same time frame. MSN can't seem to wait until Obama makes this country a communist country.  
Nov 3, 2012 12:18AM
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A BO win---no change---just more of the same!  He'll drive the coal industry out of business which is what he wants to do in the first place. Don't think nat gas will stay low forever. A lot of new wells are being capped waiting on higher prices. Odd, we export our oil to other countries and import theirs here?????? BO is about as bogus as a $3.00 bill. Either he's surrounded himself with some not too brilliant people or he's the poorest decision maker on the planet. Sorry, if you put this guy back in office, you deserve exactly what you get. Added, any increase in employment is heralded as a stunning confirmation of BO's policies. Any decrease in entirely unexpected. ONLY, ONLY, 370,000 people filed new unemployment claims
Nov 4, 2012 2:52AM
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It does?? If all the discouraged workers get back into the job market and the true unemployment figure became known, you'd be a fool to vote for BO.
Nov 3, 2012 2:05PM
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4 more years of 7.9% unemployment is what  you have to look forward to. how can i predict this? smart guy named albert said doing the same over/over again and expecting a different result is not solving the problem. business sees the problem, that's why they won't hire. obama does not. most of us do not see that we are our worst problem.
Nov 3, 2012 1:56PM
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 pulling  victory from the jaws of defeat once again? i'm not buying it.
Nov 2, 2012 8:30PM
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Bullsh*t article. Once again, the media tries to give their boy a face-lift.
Nov 2, 2012 8:17PM
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The jobs report is controlled by the government which is run by Obama.  What did you expect??  Lies, Lies, Lies.  
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