As the numbers-driven presidential campaign heads for the home stretch, one final big set of pre-vote statistics looms huge.
It will be the October jobs report, due out next Friday.
Analysts already are projecting a jobs boost of about 120,000 for the month; they add that they believe the unemployment rate will remain at 7.8 percent. What do I think of those projections? Not much. They’re usually wrong at least as often as they’re right.
I’m no economist, but I do believe this: If the numbers come in huge, say, with 200,000 jobs added in the past month, President Obama’s re-election chances will have been boosted to near-certain status. If they tank and the numbers show growth of about 50,000 jobs or fewer, then we could be looking at a Mitt Romney upset.
The timing of the release of this report will be critical for obvious reasons. On Friday, there will be just three full days before balloting begins the following Tuesday. Early voting will have concluded in many states, including Texas (not that it matters here, given that Texas is going to support Romney).
I would love to be a fly on the wall at Romney’s campaign HQ early Friday, where Mitt’s minions are going to be praying for a bad jobs report, which in effect is the same as praying for continued economic misery for millions of Americans. Of course, Obama’s campaign brass is hoping for the best possible numbers to come out Friday … and I agree their motives are just as political as those of the Romney gang.
However, a positive jobs report means much more than just determining how a presidential campaign turns out. It means Americans are getting back to work.
Isn’t that news worth cheering, no matter your political stripe?