Politico's White: January Jobs Report May Be Omen for Democrats

Friday, 07 Feb 2014 06:19 PM

By Dan Weil

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The weak January jobs data may make things even more difficult for Democrats in this year's mid-term congressional elections, according to Ben White, chief economic correspondent for Politico.

Incumbent Democrats hoped to present a strong economy and jobs markets to voters as part of an effort to keep their jobs this November.

But the 113,000 gain in January payrolls, well below the median forecast of a 180,000 gain from economists surveyed by Bloomberg, doesn't give Democrats much ammunition.

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And the weather apparently can't be blamed.

"The weak rise in payrolls was despite a fairly low reading for the household survey series on non-farm workers with a job who did not work because of bad weather," Jim O'Sullivan chief economist of High Frequency Economics, wrote in a commentary obtained by White.

"The details do not suggest that weather was the reason" for the small job gain.

Payrolls increased only 75,000 in December. So a few more months of bad numbers could do serious damage to Democrats, White writes on CNBC.com.

The party in control of the White House historically loses seats in mid-term elections, so Democrats are hoping for a strong economy overcome that history.

A survey taken by Pew Research Center last month showed that 51 percent of the public is especially looking forward to the November congressional elections, while 49 percent aren't.

Among Republicans, 63 percent are anticipating the elections, compared to 53 percent of Democrats.

Those numbers are similar to 2010, when 60 percent of Republicans were anticipating the elections, compared to 48 percent for Democrats. The GOP scored a smashing victory that year.

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