Unemployment up in 6 battleground states
It is possible to make too much of the raw unemployment rate in a particular state. Far more important is the perception of the economy in an individual state among voters.
So the fact that Iowa has a low unemployment rate at 5.2% doesn't mean as much as the perception of the voter about whether the economy is improving or not.
Unemployment rose in June in six of 10 battleground states that could play a pivotal role in the presidential election, reflecting job cuts in some cases and weak payroll growth in others.
The jobless rate climbed a 10th of a percentage point last month in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Iowa, New Hampshire and Virginia, the Labor Department said in a report released Friday.
The rate held steady in three other battleground states-Nevada, Florida, and North Carolina.
Ohio was the only battleground state where unemployment fell last month.
Nevada's 11.6% jobless rate remained the highest of any state in the nation. The rates in North Carolina, at 9.4%, Michigan, at 8.6%, and Florida, also at 8.6%, remained stuck above the national average of 8.2%.
Joblessness was far below the national rate in three of the battleground states-Virginia, with 5.7%; Iowa with 5.2%; and New Hampshire, with 5.1%. Employers cut jobs in Colorado, Iowa, Michigan and Nevada.
Three of the battleground states-Ohio, Pennsylvania and North Carolina-posted significant job gains.
The jobless rate is politically significant because voters look to it for a quick read on the economy-which is a central focus in the election, particularly in these states that are expected to be the closest in the race.
The data confirm job growth has sputtered in these states since the winter's brisk pace of job growth.
It is expected that the situation won't improve very much - if at all - between now and election day so Romney would do well the find a way back to focusing the campaign conversation on jobs and the economy.