USATODAY was forced to report today:

“WASHINGTON – Employment has picked up significantly this year in a number of closely contested states that could decide the outcome of the 2004 presidential election.
The latest Labor Department figures on state jobs show that 10 of the 17 states expected to be the most tightly contested this campaign season were among the fastest-growing job markets in the country in April.

The report, out Friday, showed a marked acceleration in job gains in industrial states in and around the Midwest defying the expectations of economists who predicted last year that those states would lag the national recovery.”

(Emph is mine)

Well, they were hoping, certainly.
When even the liberal Gannet is forced to admit it…