Given the unprecedented state of the economy in the US amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Americans living in the presidential battleground states who are still deciding who to vote for in the upcoming election may want to choose who they believe will help jobs recover faster.
The US unemployment rate in September dropped from 8.4% to 7.9%, marking the fifth-straight month of a declining rate. However, this is still higher than pre-pandemic levels, and the unemployment rate varies across the states most likely to decide the coming presidential election.
Many of the Southern battleground states had relatively low unemployment rates in August, the most recent month for which data is available. Meanwhile, the Midwestern battlegrounds of Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania had rates higher than the national rate, and Nevada’s hard-hit tourism industry has left the state with an unemployment rate above 13%.
President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have different plans to bring back jobs and economic relief for Americans.
Biden’s plan includes increasing the use of short-time compensation programs, according to the campaign’s website. This program has been popular in Germany to help avoid layoffs and is reflected in its low unemployment rate relative to the US. According to the OECD’s Employment Outlook 2020 report, other countries have mitigated the economic hit from the pandemic using their country’s job retention programs, such as New Zealand and France.
Meanwhile, Trump said during the Republican National Convention in August that he will create 10 million jobs in 10 months, according to CNN. CNN notes in their reporting that these jobs will mainly replace the 22 million jobs that were lost in the first wave of the pandemic in March and April.
Although some economists have different opinions over which candidate’s plan would be better for economic recovery, Moody’s Analytics analyzed Biden’s and Trump’s economic policies. They found that while 18.6 million jobs would be created under Biden and a Democratic Congress, Trump and a Republican Congress would lead to only 11.2 million jobs created. Moody’s Analytics notes that they relied on “speeches and statements and the fiscal proposals contained in his fiscal 2021 budget” for their analysis of Trump’s plan.
According to reporting from The Wall Street Journal, a high unemployment rate doesn’t necessarily mean the current president will lose an election for a second term. The Wall Street Journal found that for half of the eight elections between 1932-2012 where the November unemployment rate was above 7%, the incumbent lost.
We looked at a couple measures of the labor market in 12 of the most competitive states in the election, according to FiveThirtyEight’s projections. The following gives a snapshot of the unemployment rate, number of people on unemployment benefits, and change in employment since the start of the pandemic, as well as the current RealClearPolitics average of the polls in the battleground states: