"A distressed economy is widely blamed for President George H.W. Bush's re-election defeat in 1992, and a decade earlier, for the loss of 26 House seats in midterm elections by Ronald Reagan's Republicans. Yet in both instances recession had already ended or was winding down.
It's a point not lost on President Barack Obama's White House or Democrats headed into next year's midterm elections. The stock market may be up, U.S. service industries may be recovering, banks may be lending again and housing prices holding. But one major piece of the recovery puzzle is still missing: a brighter employment picture.
And that's bad news for the party in power, whether the recession is officially over or not.
Job losses are expected to continue at least into the middle of next year, likely driving the unemployment rate above 10 percent from 9.8 percent last month. It could take three or four more years for it to fall to normal levels.
The longest and deepest downturn since the Great Depression has claimed 7.2 million jobs since it began in December 2007. Analysts figure 750,000 more jobs could disappear over the next six months.
If you add in people who have stopped looking for work, or who are working part time when they want a full-time job, the unemployment rate is a whopping 17 percent, according to the Labor Department."
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