Positive economic indicators at the national level — like the stock market, unemployment rate and overall economic growth — fail to capture the reality that unemployment is rising in about one in three U.S. counties — with key swing states hit the hardest.
The Washington Post reported on Monday that “all 72 counties in Wisconsin and all 10 in New Hampshire, as well as most in Michigan, Minnesota and North Carolina” have seen unemployment climb over the past year.
Of the ten states with the closest election results in 2016, Labor Department data show that four have seen significant increases in unemployment, The Post reported — Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and North Carolina.
Many of these places depend on manufacturing and agriculture, which means the trade war is having a particularly devastating effect.
Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody’s Analytic, told The Post that an uptick in unemployment could spell trouble for the president. “When unemployment is rising, people sense the implications of that: fewer jobs, smaller pay increases, no bonuses and maybe some layoffs. It’s palpable. People feel things are changing, and it makes them nervous,” he said.
“The key swing states are the ones that feel the most fragile right now. A lot of that is due to the trade war,” Zandi said. “If anything moves against Trump, especially rising unemployment or higher Democratic turnout, it’s going to be a lot closer.”