U.S. President Barack Obama's odds of getting re-elected in 2012 just went up.
Thanks to a positive unemployment report released Friday, which said America's unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent, or its lowest level since March 2009, Obama's chances of getting re-elected increased.
Since no American president since Franklin Delano Roosevelt has won a second term in office with an unemployment rate above 7.2 percent, the nation's lingering high unemployment rate has been viewed as Obama's Achilles heel. For most of this year unemployment has hovered above 9 percent, while Obama's national approval rating has dipped
In November, for instance, Obama's approval rating was 43 percent, according to a Gallup poll. That figure ranked as one of the lowest ever for an elected president in November of his third year of office. High national unemployment is widely considered one reason for his low numbers. And, with an election looming in 2012, the U.S. unemployment rate has been viewed as a major obstacle for Obama, pushing GOP presidential nominee candidates to make it a primary topic of discussion.
Even The New York Times noted this summer that Obama had a major hurdle to overcome with the high unemployment rate: Seventeen months before the next election, it is increasingly clear that President Obama must defy that trend to keep his job, the paper wrote in June.
There's good news for Obama now, however. The U.S. labor market improved in November, as private employers added jobs at a strong pace. Non farm payrolls rose by 120,000 last month, according to the U.S. Labor Department, and the national unemployment rate fell to 8.6 percent, from 9.0 percent in October.
The last time it was that low was March 2009, at 8.6. percent.