Bill Clinton: High Unemployment Might Hurt Congress, Not Obama

Monday, 07 Nov 2011 08:34 AM

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No U.S. president has ever been re-elected in recent history with unemployment rates as high as today's but that might not be the case in 2012, says former President Bill Clinton.

Congress, this time around, might feel the wrath from out-of-work voters by refusing to go along with the president's economic recovery and jobs initiatives.

Granted, unemployment rates of 9.0 percent two years after the recession won't help President Barack Obama.

"Well, that's what the Republicans are banking on," Clinton tells USA Today.
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"But the American people have a funny way of figuring. If they decide that the unemployment rate is that high because the Congress refused to work with the president and their numbers remain markedly lower than his, he might win anyway. I still think he's in pretty good shape."

clintonobamagetty200.jpg
(Getty Images photo)
The economy created 80,000 jobs in October, according to the latest Labor Department data, which brought unemployment rates to 9.0 percent from 9.1 percent in September.

Much better numbers will be needed to seriously make a dent in high unemployment rates.

"To actually improve the unemployment rate, we need to be significantly above where we are today on job creation," says Matt McDonald of Hamilton Place Strategies, the AFP newswire reports.

"To get below eight percent unemployment by election day, the economy needs to create 263,000 jobs per month."

Other experts were quick to point out that unemployment numbers illustrate a grim economy.

"At this rate, the labor market will never start putting the backlog of nearly 14 million unemployed workers back to work," says Heidi Shierholz, an economist at the Economic Policy Institute, the AFP adds.

"In other words, given the enormous scope of the unemployment problem, this minimal level of job creation will keep us mired in disastrously high unemployment."

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