By - Andrea Hayley
American businesses created 234,000 new jobs in January, bringing the unemployment rate down from 8.5 percent a month earlier, to a three-year low of 8.3 percent. Optimism is high that two straight months of jobs gains mean the U.S. economic recovery has staying power.
Jobs numbers are the single most important indicator for a presidential election. The improving unemployment rate gives Obama a powerful talking point on which he can draw on while campaigning to justify the economic policies of his administration.
Some political pundits believe that January’s positive jobs report bodes well for Obama’s re-election chances, if it continues. Others caution that unemployment is still too high for the majority of Americans to tolerate.
Republican primary frontrunner Mitt Romney responded to the positive January jobs report by blasting President Obama’s policies for slowing down the economic recovery - but if it continues Romney’s presidential pitch could be undercut.
Better than expected jobs data has sent the S&P 500 Index soaring to it highest levels since 1987, causing some economists to use words like “spectacular,” to describe the market’s move.