Gallup’s Job Creation Index is the highest it has been since the economic collapse in 2008. From Gallup:
U.S. Job Creation Index, Monthly Averages, 2008-2012

The Job Creation Index of +16 is based on 33% of workers nationwide saying their employers are hiring workers and expanding the size of their workforce, and 17% saying their employers are letting workers go and reducing the size of their workforce. Hiring and firing have each improved by one percentage point since December. The percentage hiring matches the 33% of June 2011, and the two reflect the highest hiring levels since September 2008.

This Job Creation Index is still not good, but it is better than what it was and it appears to be moving in a positive direction. This is roughly in line with most of the economic news in the past month. The news is not good, but seems to be marginally improved.

As long as the Obama team can point to signs like this showing that the economy is improving, even if very slowly, they at least have something positive to campaign on. With things moving in the right direction the Obama campaign can at least try to make the case that what Obama is doing is starting to “work” but he needs more time and a Congress that isn’t holding him back.

If the indicators don’t show the economy improvement or turning slightly negative campaigning becomes extremely difficult and very nasty. With no growth the Obama campaign would be forced to make excuses for failure and would likely have no other option but to make the race about how the other candidate would somehow be even worse.

The difference between having at least weak growth or basically having no growth affects the messaging options for an incumbent’s campaign. Weak growth going into the election doesn’t mean the Obama campaign won’t adopt a scorched earth strategy against the Republican nominee, but at least it gives them the ability to focus on some positive messaging.