May 4th, 2012
01:09 PM ET
2 years ago

Romney says no celebration until 4% unemployment rate

Pittsburgh (CNN) - Mitt Romney, slamming President Barack Obama for his performance creating jobs, said Friday any unemployment figure above 4% shouldn't be cause for celebration.

Romney's comments came hours after the Labor Department released figures showing hiring slowed in April, and workers dropped out of the labor force at an alarming rate. At the same time, the unemployment rate fell to 8.1%.

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"Just this morning there was some news that came across the wire that said that the unemployment rate has dropped to 8.1% and normally that would be cause for celebration, but, in fact, anything over 8%, anything near 8%, anything over 4% is not cause for celebration," Romney told a crowd while campaigning in Pittsburgh.

America's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was last below 4% in December 2000, when it stood at 3.9%. That was at the end of President Bill Clinton's second term in office. In October 2004, just before President George W. Bush won re-election, the unemployment rate was 5.5%.

Romney went on to point out the statistics on workers who have dropped out of the labor force, saying the rate of people in the workforce reflected a sad reality. At 63.6%, the portion of the working-age population participating in the job market is now at its lowest level since 1981.

"The unemployment rate is lower now because not so many people want to work," Romney said. "This is a sad time in America. When people who want work can't find jobs. College kids, kids coming out of college. Surveys said half of the kids coming out of college can't find work or can't find work that's consistent with their skills. This is a time when America wants to have someone who knows what it takes to create jobs and get people working again."

Repeating an oft-used campaign line, Romney told the crowd that in order to create jobs, "it helps to have had a job."

Romney discussed the plight of taxes on small businesses at the Sauereisen Concrete Company, which has been owned by the same family for three generations.

"Right now small business, the top rate they pay is the individual tax rate of 35% and 35% of what they make will go into the government income tax rolls. Then they have the state income tax rolls on top of that," he said.

"What's the state tax here in Pennsylvania?" Romney asked, to which a few people responded with 3.07, the state's flat rate income tax and considered low compared to other states. After he heard the number Romney joked, "That .07 gets you doesn't it?"

At one point during his campaign rally, Romney was interrupted by a veteran who, among other points, advocated turning a veterans' hospital slated to be shut down into a veterans' university.

After a minute of letting the man make his points, Romney interjected, asking if he could finish his stump speech. The candidate eventually allowed the attendee to finish his point.

Also see:

Romney adviser left after being silenced, source says

Bachmann to endorse Romney

Pro-Romney super PAC back on the air


Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (106 Responses)
  1. Hap

    Sorry Miit but there aren't enough Buger Kings, McDonalds, or Wendys to employ that many people. Mitt's 4% will be achieved when he and his ilk bring our money back to this country, pay thier taxes and invest in manufacturing jobs preferrably in the next generation of alternative energy. Then flying monkeys will fly from my butt.

    May 4, 2012 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. Andrew

    I love the line- "the only people looking for work are those that had a previous job"- so anyone coming out college doesn't want a job? Humm.. Umm.. I payed my loans off and my debt. Never got government hand outs and I'm a liberal. Romney is a funny character.

    May 4, 2012 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    2012liberal - When u cut govt and construction jobs like the rethugs hv done this is the rate u get. Teachers, police, firefighter dmv clerks etc... r jobs. Keep cutting them. Some day people will wake up. Private sector can only make so many.
    ===============================================================================================
    If ONLY Obama and the Democrats could borrow another $4 TRILLION from China and spend it, they are ABSOLUTELY POSITIVE they can fix the economy. Yes, quadrupling the number of government "jobs", and forming armies of road paving crews and bridge repairers from former office and fast food workers is surely the answer to the countries unemployment problems and unsafe bridge issues. SIGN ME UP!!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHA!!!

    May 4, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  4. MaryM

    So, tell us Mitt, How are you going to get the unemployment rate down. I have an Idea, Bring back those JOBS you shipped overseas. That would be a good start.

    May 4, 2012 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  5. Mikey

    @Sue/Bren – I will try to type slower for you this time. Under Clinton gasoline prices ranged between $1.50 and $2.00 per gallon. When Bush took office they were about $2.00/gallon. Bush had no long term energy strategy (except perhaps to enrich his oil buddies). Gas prices increased steadily under Bush from $2 to over $4/gallon in early 2008. Then the Great Recession hit. Gas prices plumeted to below $2 gallon in a few short months.

    The starting price you are giving to Obama was not the normal price of oil, but an unusual level because of the Great Recession. Your information is not representative of Obama's policies. Domestic oil production has increased every year under Obama. Production on public lands has increase every year under Obama. And that includes the impact of the BP oil spill in 2010. Global demand is the main driver of oil prices. We can never increase production enough to make up for increasing demand in India and China. Is this to fact-driven for you?

    May 4, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. ThinkAgain

    Hmmmm .... last time the US unemployment rate was at 4.0% was in July 2000 (it actually got down to 3.9% in December of 2000). Who was President? Oh, year, BILL CLINTON.

    Starting in January 2001 – when GW Bush came into office – the unemployment rate started to rise immediately. It went down a little in 2006, then started to rise yet again. Why? BECAUSE REPUBLICANS DON'T KNOW DIDDLY ABOUT THE ECONOMY.

    Proof: Historically, our country fares better under Democratic administrations than Republican ones – because Democrats want ALL people to rise economically, not just the top 1% who have this nasty gambling-addicted habit or over and over and over again crashing the economy.

    Obama/Biden 2012 – the ONLY way forward

    May 4, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. i want a mega rich Mormon who hides money overseas, and a master tax evader as president

    This country so deserve what Bishop mittens have planned for us.

    May 4, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. Sandy

    Lots of people have left the workforce by retiring. Companies are not hiring 60+ year old people, which is why raising the retirement age is not a good thing. How are all these people over 60 going to keep their jobs when companies are forcing them out for younger people?

    May 4, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. AllenA

    Mitt Romney have no clue what the hell is talking about. Unemployment rate has never been under 6% under any Republican administration and by the time their tricke-down economic policies were implemented, unemployment jumped in each Republican administration only to have a Democratic administration come in and bail them out. If some Americans want to buy the idea that tax cuts for the wealthy stimulates the economy, hence allowing the wealth to tricke-down to the rest of us, that's their business, but don't try to fudge the figures with made up numbers and stupid economic analysis that do not hold water. We've seen it under three Republican administrations now and that ideology has been an abject failure each time.

    May 4, 2012 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. ThinkAgain

    @MaryM: "So, tell us Mitt, How are you going to get the unemployment rate down. I have an Idea, Bring back those JOBS you shipped overseas. That would be a good start."

    No, Mary, you've got Mittens all wrong: his business philosophy is to put the investors ahead of everyone and trust that it will ultimately tinkle-down on the rest of us. I'm sure all the people who lost their jobs because of Mittens' vulture capitalism have been more than satisfied with the contribution they've made to Mittens' pockets and have no problem waiting and waiting and waiting for some of it to tinkle down ....

    May 4, 2012 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  11. Bren

    Terry:

    As many others have said...........I think that it is hilarious/pathetic that liberals are more worried about how Romney spends his own money, then how Obama spends theirs!!!

    And, too bad for Obama and the liberals..........Because the blind, clueless, gullible Obama drones might believe the excuses, blame games from Obama---but the Independents will NOT.

    The Independents are thinking/saying-–fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice--NO WAY!!

    May 4, 2012 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    I don't trust a man who doesn't have the common sense to not let his wife wear a $990 tee-shirt when they're trying to come off as "regular" folks who "understand" the challenges facing the Middle Class.

    I also don't trust a guy who thinks everyone can just go out and borrow money from their parents to start a business.

    Mittens is clueless!

    May 4, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  13. thomas

    @Hap
    Sorry Miit but there aren't enough Buger Kings, McDonalds, or Wendys to employ that many people. Mitt's 4% will be achieved when he and his ilk bring our money back to this country, pay thier taxes and invest in manufacturing jobs preferrably in the next generation of alternative energy. Then flying monkeys will fly from my butt.

    @
    Then flying monkeys will fly from my butt.
    I sure dont want to see Mitt Flip Flop that ?

    Romney / Bush
    Youve seen us drive , now watch us fly 2012

    May 4, 2012 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. Jim Hahn

    An unemployment rate of 6% is considered full employment. This Country will probably never see sub 5% employment again. We're almost there.

    May 4, 2012 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  15. gg

    HAP -your so right

    May 4, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  16. Sue

    Mikey:

    AGAIN for you.........Do a search for the article............"Gasoline Up 100% Under Obama", Washington Times,
    March 30, 2011

    The article states..............Gas was $1.79/gallon when Obama took office. Gas has gone up OVER 100% since Obama took office.

    And, in March of 2011-–when the article was written-–gas prices were even lower than they are now!!

    May 4, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  17. Ol' Yeller

    "Repeating an oft-used campaign line, Romney told the crowd that in order to create jobs, "it helps to have had a job."
    And what is Romney's job? Since he left as Governor of Massachusetts (at 47th in job growth, thank you very much) all he has done is run for President. I'm sure his ability to spend vast amounts of others people money without a producing anything, yet still managing to grow his own personal fortune w/o ever hitting a lick, is seen as quite an accomplishment in GOP world, but I'm just a working class stiff and am less than impressed. When he did have a job he basically relished in firing others or cutting them back so they could no longer get there benfits, or sending their job overseas. Is this really the kind of guy you republicans like? Is this really the guy you look up to?
    Man, what has America came to when the greedy banker guy is the hero of 'What a Wonderful Life", rather than Jimmy Stewart.

    May 4, 2012 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  18. Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Is Soo Plastic he Makes Mannequins Looks Real

    Etch-a-Sketch Mitt Romney, why stop at 500k jobs/ per month....why not create 500k jobs/ per week?...that way you can wipe the US unemployment rate to 0%!!!

    Etch-a-Sketch Mitt, while you are at it, please throw in an elevator to employees garage, set up Swiss Bank accounts for all American workers with their Trust Funds money already deposited, give us all a couple cadillacs, with beach front houses in California to match, and make our wives wear $1000 dress tops at a whim...and why fight in the wars with Iran, Syria, Russia, and China that you are about to start when you can give us a free passage like your daddy did to "mission" in FRANCE and eat "SWISS CHEESE"!!!

    What more?....I wanna live in your "Out of Touch" La la land.........so I can bank my extra TAX CUTS in the CAYMEN ISLAND!!!

    May 4, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. Gg

    I got question for you Romney..how you going to fix the economy..please in detail ? and explain your job creation as a governor. Romney: I don't have the answer right now I will get back you when available ok. oh yeah in term of fixing the economy I will do the opposite period no more explaination.

    May 4, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. gg

    what are you going to do use the old[ bain,drain] again-romney knows how to create jobs -just not in america, 2.00 a hr don,t cut it in america

    May 4, 2012 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  21. Ricardo

    Why not 0%

    May 4, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  22. imho44

    Another reason I won't be voting for Romney: Is irresponsable to talk about 4% unemployment, and he knows it; that's why he does not say "I'll bring it down to 4%" he just makes you think he said it.

    May 4, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Sandy - Lots of people have left the workforce by retiring. Companies are not hiring 60+ year old people, which is why raising the retirement age is not a good thing. How are all these people over 60 going to keep their jobs when companies are forcing them out for younger people?
    ==============================================================================================
    Millions more are trying to claim disability as well. I'm sure there are hundreds of thousands of mental anxiety cliams being filed because people have been unemployed for years thanks to Obama. So now government spending on these programs will balloon but it is all for a good cause, a bogus declining unemployment rate.

    May 4, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  24. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The point is that the rate has been coming down. What are the plans of Romney other than cutting taxes and regulations? I don't see how that is going to work since it has failed us in the past.

    May 4, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  25. vote the Tea Party OUT in 2012

    @ Sue......

    while you're on your rant tell us how many Americans DIED for a lie and/or blood for oil while Bush was in office. Plus didn't Cheney say that "deficits don't matter"? I will take 4 dollar a gallon gas ANYDAY over Americans losing their lives figthing in Iraq for WMD that never existed.

    May 4, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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