Did Obama and Clinton reduce the deficit
At the US Democratic Party conference in Charlotte, Barack Obama asked for time to be more patient with his economic policy. But the announcement of the unemployment figures by the US Department of Labor cannot be postponed - the agency publishes it on the first Friday of each month. The balance sheet for August is extremely mixed: only 96,000 new jobs were created - just enough to keep up with the country's population growth.
Nevertheless, the latest figures could help Obama: The unemployment rate fell from 8.3 to 8.1 percent - a trend that he can sell as a sign of an economic recovery during the election campaign. But this month the decline is mainly due to the fact that many Americans have stopped registering as unemployed and are no longer available for the job market: some are starting to study, others have lost hope of even having a job to find. In addition, a total of around 41,000 fewer jobs were created in June and July than initially reported.
Economists also give mixed ratings to the numbers. "More new jobs would have been nice," tweeted Betsey Stevenson of Princton University. "But the basic message remains that the new figures are in line with the previous trend: the moderate upswing is continuing."
The unemployment figures are considered to be the most important economic indicator in the USA. Every month, the number of newly created jobs should show whether the economy is running or stuck. However, the statistics are only a rough estimate.
For months, the incumbent US president has been fighting against the Republicans portraying him as an economic failure. When Obama moved into the White House in early 2009, the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent - and has often risen since then, peaking at 10 percent in October 2009.
At their coronation convention in Charlotte, the Democrats tried hard to put the economic situation in the right light. First of all, ex-President Bill Clinton, who even Republicans consider economically successful and in his speech on Thursday gradually calculated what a bad job market situation Obama had inherited from his predecessor George W. Bush. Not even he himself, Bill Clinton, could have repaired this damage in four years, said the ex-president - and praised the 4.5 million jobs that Obama created.
Deficit exceeds gross domestic product
His successor, Obama, said in his speech on Friday: "The path we are offering you may be more difficult, but it leads to a better place." Obama promised that he would create a million new industrial jobs by the end of 2016 and reduce the budget deficit by four trillion dollars.
The huge debt level had disrupted the US Democrats' party on Wednesday: Obama's Treasury Department announced that the deficit had grown to more than $ 16 trillion and exceeded the US gross domestic product for the first time since the post-war period. A step forward for Obama's challenger Mitt Romney. His runner-up, Paul Ryan, used the number to attack: "Of all Barack Obama's broken promises, debt is possibly the worst." (More on the debt level and the background to this in this SZ.de-Items.)
After the convention, Obama set off for New Hampshire, where he will sell the job market figures as a signal of success. By doing swing state the incumbent is just ahead of Romney in polls, who is also vying for votes there. Romney will continue to brand the unemployment rate as unacceptable, and an expensive TV advertising campaign will carry the same message. Even if it falls slightly before the election - it will continue to be noticeably higher than it was before the crisis.
Obama has no choice but to speak against it, to be patient and to hope for a historic opportunity: Since the Second World War, a president in the USA has never been re-elected if the unemployment rate was higher than 7.2 percent.
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