RENO, Nev. -- It’s a bad day on the trail when your economic adviser ruminates about how a rebounding jobless market is helping President Obama politically.
“Good news today about employment,” wrote Greg Mankiw, a Harvard economist and adviser to Republican front-runner Mitt Romney, on his blog. “The 243,000 increase in jobs is a very solid number. The graph below shows how the prices at Intrade reacted when the news was released at 8:30 am. President Obama’s probability of being reelected rose by about 2 percentage points.”
At a campaign appearance, the candidate did not mention the blog post by Mankiw, who chaired the Council on Economic Advisers under President George W. Bush. And his reaction to the jobless rate news was more restrained, even though he, too, had to acknowledge that the downward creep in unemployment to 8.3 percent in January was a positive development. He argued that without Obama at the helm, it would have been even better.
“We got good news this morning on job creation in January. I hope that continues, we get people back to work,” Romney said at a business roundtable. “That is the antidote, by the way, to falling home prices -- is people going back to work, being able to buy homes. … But this president has not helped the process. He’s hurt it. Sometimes I got the impression that speaking to you that you don’t think you have a friend in Washington. And I can assure you that if I’m the president, I will see what you do as being a very good thing. A patriotic and good thing, which is employ people and putting them to work.”