Grappling unemployment rates amidst political rivalry and COVID-19

As the United States tops the number of coronavirus cases, it has brought turmoil in the country with respect to the health care, employment rates, and the overall economic aspect as steering the country has been a hard drive for the past few months.

While the turmoil was unleashed, the political rivalries have also shown up from Joe Biden accusing Trump of misleading the numbers to expecting a gloomy economic report. Last week, as the economic reports showed an unemployment rate of 10.2% and after the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported, the U.S. economy added 1.8 million jobs last month. President Trump took to Twitter to tweet “Great Jobs Numbers!”, while some believed the numbers weren’t to be celebrated, the White House strategic communications director Alyssa Farrah said, “The Great American Comeback is underway.”

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Tim Murtaugh, Trump’s campaign communications director, said that the economy is “roaring back” and picking up steam, which is bad news for former Vice President Joe Biden who, as mentioned, expected a gloomy economic report, to help him politically. 

Unlike the projections made by the country and some political leaders, the policies are driving the numbers uphill. Leading economists, including some at the White House, forecast Depression-level unemployment rates above 20% through the summer whereas, the number 10.2% is still higher than the 10% peak during the Great Recession.

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As the lockdown eases, 9.3 million jobs have been added over the past three months after hemorrhaging more than 22 million which leaves a job deficit of 12.7 million, the sharpest decline in the GDP was recorded when the economy contracted 33% in the second quarter.

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In the latest blog, Biden blasted Trump’s handling of the economy while pointing out the unemployment figures and said, “It did not have to be this bad.” Apart from the slow rate of recovery in May and June and the highest rates of unemployment among Black and Hispanic workers, a long term unemployment trend can also be seen building when the White House and Congress allowed the expiration of the extra $600 in pandemic unemployment benefits. 

In a tweet, Joe Biden said, “While I am grateful for the people who got their jobs back, my heart goes out to the more than 16 million Americans still out of work. The truth is it didn’t have to be this bad, but Donald Trump failed to act. He’s the one person who should lose his job”. 

He again pointed the blame at President Trump and said: “We are in a deeper economic hole than we should be because of Donald Trump’s historic failure to respond to the pandemic, and the pace of recovery has now slowed because of Trump’s continuing inability to come up with a plan to control the virus.” Prior to the elections, you’re going to hear both sides clamoring, using the data to support the case they’re trying to make,” said Bill Dendy, a Dallas-based financial adviser.

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Such an economic crisis hasn’t been seen since the great depression, and people have now been experiencing in their own lives. Though the average voter might not know the stats, they do know that they or someone they know are out of jobs. With a pandemic that has killed 160,000, an unprecedented economic downturn, hyperpartisanship, and social unrest unlike anything seen in more than a generation, the present seems bleak to many Americans.

In 2021, be it Trump or Biden, if the virus is not contained, would have to face a really nasty situation. The political rivalries will continue irrespective of the one in office, what concerns the citizens is the state of the economy they’re working in. If the present situations continue, it would create a lot of discomfort amongst the voters.

The unemployment figures over the next couple of months may be important to both candidates, but, at the same time, it is not determinative of reelection. History is proof that presidents, including Barack Obama, Ronald Reagan, and Franklin Roosevelt won reelection with unemployment rates higher than when they first took office.

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