CNN Explains Why Running On His Record Is Not A Winning Strategy For Obama
Election forecasters have long argued that a swiftly improving economy in the months leading up to Election Day represents Obama's best chance for an easy re-election romp.
After all, that's the playbook Ronald Reagan used to steamroll Walter Mondale in 1984. Reagan was able to capture a whopping 525 electoral votes, in part because the economy was rapidly climbing out of a recession as voters went to the polls.
But now, it looks like the Obama team will have to set aside hopes of a Reaganesque recovery. That's because job growth is following a familiar pattern: strong in the winter, weak in the spring.
A few months ago, it looked like the labor market was starting to gain some traction. The economy added 200,000+ jobs from December through February.
That momentum appears to be lost as the economy added only 154,000 jobs in March, and 115,000 in April.
Even worse, the portion of the adult population participating in the job market is now at its lowest level since 1981.
The slowdown mirrors trends that were also seen in 2010 and 2011, when job growth registered several months of solid gains before slowing.
Things were different in 1984.
In April 1984, the economy added 363,000 jobs. In the first four months of 1984, employment growth hit 1,564,000. This year, the first four months have brought about half that amount.