Washington – In what can only be described as an ominous sign for Team Obama, July unemployment rates climbed in nine out of 10 battleground states.
The trend could spell trouble for President Obama who has recently based his campaign on pressuring Romney to release five years of tax returns even as jobless rates creep up. Jobless claims rose in Iowa, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, according to Labor Department data released Friday, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The rise in the national unemployment comes in the heat of August leading up to national elections pitting successful businessman and former governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney against the incumbent president. Unemployment in Nevada, home state to Sen. Harry Reid, leader of the Democrat-controlled Senate, is at 12 percent, the highest unemployment rate of any state in the U.S. Democrats are in danger of losing control of the Senate to Republicans in November. Adding to Obama’s unemployment blues, jobless rates also edged up in Colorado and North Carolina. Ohio’s unemployment was unchanged, after 11 months of declines. Increases in unemployment in battleground states reflected the national trend which saw unemployment rise to 8.3% in July from 8.2% a month before, according to another report by Newsday. Data suggests employers added some jobs in all but three of the battleground states—Florida, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania, however not enough to break even. Virginia and Michigan, with the largest increase in jobs, added about 40,000 between them. While the state of the economy easily ranks as this year’s most pressing issue to voters in the presidential race according to all polls, President Barack Obama says he inherited an economy in crisis, but that the U.S. is actually experiencing an economic recovery due to his policies. On the other side of the aisle, presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his newly-named VP choice, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, say Mr. Obama’s policies have failed America and that they would turn things around with strong growth and job gains if elected. Obama campaign spokesman Adam Fetcher claims Obama’s policies have added 4.5 million jobs in 29 months and “will build the economy from the middle class out through targeted investments in education, research and development, and infrastructure.” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg says Friday’s data shows the jobless rate rose in 44 states, and said the president’s “policies have left the middle class struggling with higher unemployment, more debt, and smaller paychecks.”