The jobs report is great news for Hillary Clinton

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It wasn't great, but it was good enough.

The October jobs report missed expectations on Friday, indicating the US added 161,000 jobs to the economy over the past month, lower than the consensus expectation for 178,000.

Despite the miss, the details of the report and the still solid-enough headline number should help Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton's case for the American economy.

Essentially, Clinton's case is that the economy is on the right track after pulling itself out of the depths of the worst recession since the Great Depression. On the other hand, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has made his case that America is losing and needs to be made great again.

While the headline number may be lackluster, the fact that it is still growing may be enough for Clinton's argument. A positive change in jobs added between the first and third quarters is generally correlated with a victory for the incumbent party. There's been a net addition of 1,638,000 to payrolls since January, and the last time the incumbent party lost with a jobs gain between January and October equal to or above the growth in 2016 was 1976.

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Must-win states for Hillary Clinton
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Must-win states for Hillary Clinton

Florida

Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally at Reverend Samuel Delevoe Memorial Park on February 1, 2016 in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. (Photo by mpi04/MediaPunch/IPX via Getty Images)

Pennsylvania

Hillary Clinton campaigns for President of the United States at University of Pennsylvania on October 22, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Taylor Hill/WireImage)

Wisconsin

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton listens to a question at a campaign event in Madison, Wisconsin, United States, March 28, 2016. (Photo via REUTERS/Jim Young)

Michigan

Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally at Wayne State University on October 10, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. A day after the second presidential debate in St. Louis, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Michigan and Ohio. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Virginia

Democratic U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (C) speaks next to Virginia first lady Dorothy McCauliffe (L) and James Barnett (R) at a discussion on national security during a campaign event at the Virginia Air and Space Center in Hampton, Virginia, U.S., June 15, 2016. (Photo via REUTERS/Gary Cameron)

New Hampshire

Democratic U.S. presidential nominee Hillary Clinton speaks during a campaign rally at Alumni Hall Courtyard, Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire U.S., October 24, 2016. (Photo via REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

Minnesota

U.S. Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the American Federation of Teachers conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, July 18, 2016. (Photo via REUTERS/Adam Bettcher)

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The biggest case for Clinton, however, probably comes in the form of worker's paychecks. Average hourly earnings hit a post-recession high in Friday's report at 2.8% year-over-year growth and look poised to grow over 3% over the course of 2016. It's hard to make a case that American workers are struggling when wages are moving up at what finally looks like a healthy rate.

Other underlying factors should help Clinton too. The median time an unemployed worker is looking for a job hit a post-recession low. The U6 unemployment rate, which measures not only those unemployed but also workers with a part-time job that are seeking full-time employment, hit a post-recession low.

Even Americans with jobs feel good about the labor market. As noted by Neil Dutta at Renaissance Macro in an email following the report, the quits rate for workers hit 12.1% in October, the highest since the financial crisis.

Throw in other economic indicators such as last week's GDP report, solid showings for manufacturing in recent months, and strong consumer spending and the economic case for a Clinton win seems strong.

Even the markets seem to point to the jobs report as a good thing for Clinton. The most common market proxy for the election, the Mexican peso's strength against the US dollar, looked good for Clinton as the peso strengthened immediately following the release of the report.

When it comes down to it, the jobs report wasn't gangbusters, but given the underlying strength and apparent tight labor market, it may be enough to indicate that Americans feel good about their economic situation. Thus, it's better news for Hillary Clinton.

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SEE ALSO: Jobs report misses, wages surge


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