Tomorrow brings the last big chance for an economic ray of light to shine down upon President Obama and Democratic candidates nationwide before the November elections. But few analysts -- or candidates -- are holding much hope for that to happen.
Instead, forecasters expect Friday's unemployment rate release to prolong the economic narrative of the last several months: Unemployment near 10 percent, with little or no private sector job growth.
A preview from a longstanding private survey this week suggests the job market could even be backsliding. This week's ADP report showed the private sector lost 39,000 jobs from August to September.
Gallup unemployment surveys indicate that the government will report a slight increase in unemployment on Friday, up from the current rate of 9.6 percent. In a blog post today, Gallup Chief Economist Dennis Jacobe warned that, because job losses accelerated at the end of September in a manner that the Labor Department's snapshot won't catch, "The jobs picture could be deteriorating more rapidly than the government's job release suggests."
Democrats are already bracing themselves for those numbers. They may console themselves, if you can call it that, with the time-tested fact that economy-minded voters tend to make their decisions based on data from several months before the election -- but, of course, things were just as bad then as they are now.