As the Democrats wrap up their national convention this week, President Obama faces a big challenge in the national job picture. Unemployment has been stuck at over 8% for many months. And a high jobless rate has spelled trouble in the past for presidents seeking re-election.
When the first President Bush lost to Bill Clinton in 1992, the jobless rate was 7.4% on Election Day. When President Carter lost to Ronald Reagan in 1980, unemployment was 7.5%, and 30-year mortgage rates were above 14%. President Reagan survived a challenge from Walter Mondale and won a second term despite a jobless rate of 7.2%.
There are some who say a high unemployment rate is just part of the new economy after the Great Recession. Others argue that it doesn’t need to be so, and that a change in the Oval Office could help put Americans to work. President Obama’s challenge is to convince voters he is not ready to throw in the towel, and has some kind of plan to lower the jobless rate.