June’s tepid job growth, which led to no change in the unemployment rate, prompted the usual sour notes over for President Barack Obama’s reelection chances. While the news is unquestionably bad for the president, the big picture is better for him than it may seem. In 1992, the economy added 379,000 jobs in the first half of the year. In 1996, when Clinton won reelection, the economy added 1,439,000 jobs in the first two quarters, and in 2004 it added 1,183,000 jobs in the same period. The economy has added 902,000 jobs in the first six months of 2012-not has high as Clinton or the younger Bush, but well over twice the growth during the first Bush’s reelection campaign.
For the Obama campaign, this is a mixed blessing. While the President’s economic numbers are not as bad as they may seem, his record is also largely set in stone. If history is any guide, neither a collapse or an economic miracle at this point will make much difference with an electorate whose mind is increasingly made up.