Two sets of impending economic data are likely to hit the headlines in the last days of the US presidential campaign, the first estimate of GDP for the third quarter of the year, out on Friday October 26, and the employment situation report for October, published on Friday November 2, four days before the election.
After the release of labour market data for September, President Obama’s camp made much of strong growth in hiring, up 114,000 compared with August, and a fall in the unemployment rate from 8.1 per cent to 7.8 per cent, taking the rate back to where it was when the president took office in 2009. Mitt Romney’s campaign countered that, if not for people exiting the labour market, the rate would be in double figures.
In the data due to be released there will again be enough detail for either side to claim vociferously that the economy is or isn’t recovering.
But perhaps not too much store should be given to either release. A study by the FT of revisions after initial publication shows how the data in the minds of the voters on election day may be very different when either Mr Obama or Mr Romney is inaugurated next January.