Other data also suggest that May's weakness was exaggerated and June should look a bit better. "The pattern will naturally be read as evidence of slowing, although the data can be volatile and a significant change in the trend is not being signaled by [jobless] claims," HFE's Jim O'Sullivan wrote in a client note.
Still, Clinton may have a hard time running on the economy as a big selling point. But given the nature of her opponent, she may not really have to. Trump sparked widespread outrage on Thursday when he told The Wall Street Journal that the judge in the lawsuit against Trump University could not be fair because of his Mexican heritage. This kind of rhetoric worked well in the GOP primaries for Trump but it's not likely to endear him to the broader electorate he will need to have a chance against Clinton.
And Clinton roasted Trump on Thursday in a foreign policy speech in which she cast the GOP front-runner as a danger to the world who can never be trusted with nuclear weapons. "This is not someone who should ever have the nuclear codes," Clinton said. "It's not hard to imagine Donald Trump leading us into a war just because somebody got under his very thin skin."
This could wind up being Clinton's biggest weapon much as it was for Lyndon Johnson against Barry Goldwater in 1964. Johnson's famous "Daisy" ad, which only aired once, portrayed Goldwater, without ever mentioning his name, as a dangerous extremist who could drive the nation to nuclear war. If Clinton can disqualify Trump as a wild-eyed madman who could risk America's national security, a couple of crummy jobs reports won't matter.
— Ben White is Politico's chief economic correspondent and a CNBC contributor. He also authors the daily tip sheet Politico Morning Money [politico.com/morningmoney]. Follow him on Twitter @morningmoneyben.