Unemployment rates dropped in most states, including those who are considered swing states in the upcoming presidential election, according to data from the Labor Department on Friday.
High unemployment rates are a key issue in the election, which will take place on November 6, reports The Chicago Tribune.
Regional and state unemployment rates were mostly lower in September, with jobless rates falling in 41 states, as well as in the District of Columbia. Jobless rates rose in six states and were unchanged in three states.
Compared to the numbers from 2011, jobless rates fell in 44 states and rose in six. Michael Dolega, an economist at TD Bank Group, stated:
“Overall, following last month’s rather negative report, this one is definitely very encouraging. Specifically, the statistically significant declines across the board and employment gains.”
In Florida, one swing state, unemployment fell slightly from 8.8 percent to 8.7 percent. Dolega explained:
“Florida basically is gaining on the rebound from housing; it’s created 4,000 jobs in construction. Construction has been shedding jobs, so this is a nice turn around for them.”
USA Today notes that the jobless rate also declined in Ohio in September, another key swing state for the presidential election. The jobless rate declined to 7 percent from 7.2 percent.
Labor market developments, such as jobless rates, are expected to impact the pool of undecided voters in these states as they decide whether they will vote to re-elect President Obama, or if they will vote for Republican challenger Mitt Romney. Stephen Hess, a presidential historian at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, stated:
“The economy is the most important thing in the election and the most important thing that voters care about.”
Hess, who served in the administrations of Dwight Eisenhower and Richard Nixon, stated that Romney’s campaign staff “are probably hoping against hope there won’t be any more good news.”