Most Battleground States Posted Healthy Job Growth Over the Past Year
Job growth over the past year was particularly strong in nine of the 12 most competitive states in the 2016 presidential election.
Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump are campaigning most intensely in a dozen states considered “battlegrounds.” A strengthening economy in these states—where polls show a close race or where neither party has historically had a lock on voters–could bolster Mrs. Clinton’s argument to keep Democrats in control of the White House. Sluggish growth could boost Mr. Trump’s argument for political upheaval.
A monthly report from the Labor Department on Tuesday showed the number of jobs rose in every battleground state in the year through August, including nine with growth above the national average. Florida led the pack, with nonfarm payrolls rising 3.2%. Arizona, Georgia, Iowa, Nevada and New Hampshire all posted job growth of between 2% and 3%. Employment grew 1.9% in Virginia and 1.8% in Michigan and North Carolina.
Ohio and Wisconsin each posted below-average job growth of 1.4%, and Pennsylvania saw growth of 1%. Nationally, employment climbed 1.7% over the past year.
A separate survey of households showed the unemployment rate declined in two battleground states and rose in two others. The rate was essentially unchanged in the rest.
In North Carolina, the jobless rate fell to 4.6% in August from 5.7% a year earlier. In Georgia, it dropped to 4.9% from 5.6%. Joblessness in Pennsylvania rose to 5.7% from 4.9%. And in Iowa, it climbed to 4.2% from 3.6%.
In the latter two, the unemployment rise partly reflected growth in the labor force.
Nationally, unemployment averaged 4.9% in August, down from 5.1% a year earlier.