It is conventional wisdom to note that next week’s presidential election will hinge largely on the state of the nation’s economy. In reality, the outcome will turn more on local economic conditions — the places, after all, where Americans go to work, run businesses and spend money — in a handful of states that President Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, are desperate to win.
Three of those states — Ohio, Georgia and Arizona, viewed as toss-ups by the CBS Battleground Tracker — reveal major differences in how quickly different parts of the country are rebounding. Although those states together have regained more than 1 million jobs since the broader economy bottomed out in April, some areas continue to struggle while others are proving resilient. A total of 45 electoral votes are at stake between the three states.
As Jim Baird, chief investment officer at Plante Moran Financial Advisors in Portage, Michigan, says of the broader economy: “There is something there for everyone. If you are a supporter of the president, you say, ‘The first three years was on a positive path, and look how quickly it’s bounced back.’ But if you are on the other side, you say, ‘Yes, it’s come back, but there are still 11 million unemployed Americans. We need to do a better job.”
Where there may be more consensus is that bitter partisanship in Washington is making an epic economic crash even worse. Jobless benefits are expiring for millions of workers, especially hurting regions where unemployment remains even higher than the already elevated national average of 7.9%.
Across the U.S., some 4.5 million workers have dropped out of the labor force since February, neither working nor looking for a job. That’s hit some states, such as Iowa, especially hard.
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Aimee Picchi, Stephen Gandel, Kate Gibson