(CNN) – Friday's jobs report indicating only 96,000 jobs were created in August brought a quick end to any lingering Democratic euphoria from this week's party convention, bringing into sharp reality the challenges President Barack Obama will face in the two months until Election Day.
The monthly report, one of the few remaining before voters head to the polls November 6, showed the unemployment rate falling to 8.1% as more workers withdrew from the labor market. The 96,000 jobs created were also not enough to keep up with the population entering the workforce.
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Republicans, eager to portray Obama as weak on economic policy and jobs creation, quickly latched onto Friday's report as another indication that his time in office has been a failure, saying Obama's policies were hurting struggling Americans – and that the time had come for a change.
"After the party last night, the hangover's today," Mitt Romney, Obama's Republican challenger, told reporters ahead of a campaign stop in New Hampshire. "The jobs numbers were disappointing, for almost every new job created, approximately four people dropped out of the workforce. Seeing that kind of report is obviously disheartening to American people that need work and are having a hard time finding work."
"There's almost nothing the president has done in the last three and half four years that give the people confidence that the president knows what he's doing when it comes to jobs and the economy," Romney continued. "And there's certainly nothing he said last night that give the American people confidence that he knows what he would do to create jobs or build a stronger economy."
Obama himself told a crowd in New Hampshire the numbers were "not good enough."
"We need to create more jobs faster," Obama said. "We need to fill the hole left by this recession faster. We need to come out of this crisis stronger than when we went in."
Paul Ryan, Romney's running mate, said on CNBC the numbers were "not even close to what a recovery looks like."
"This is not what President Obama promised," Ryan said.
While jobs numbers aren't the only important economic figures, they are the most highly scrutinized. No sitting president facing an unemployment rate higher than 8% has won another term since Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Even a confident Wall Street will do little to pad the blow to Obama following Friday's report. On Thursday the Dow Jones industrial average surged 245 points, or 1.9%, and closed at the highest level since December 2007. The S&P 500 climbed 2% to its highest level since January 2008 while the Nasdaq shot up 2.2% to its highest level since November 2000.
"These numbers really reinforce my sense of where the race stands after both conventions," CNN Senior Political Analyst Ron Brownstein said after Friday's numbers were released. "To me, it felt like neither Mitt Romney nor Barack Obama really demonstrated a second gear that would really expand their coalition beyond what they came in with. And thus the race seems poised for just trench warfare with each side fighting to move very small margins among their various constituencies."
"This is not catastrophic enough to drop the bottom out from President Obama, but no tailwind behind him at all. And just setting us up for grinding trench warfare," he continued.
David Frum, another CNN contributor and a former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, said the numbers meant more people were giving up hope – and that was bad for Obama.
"For the president's point of view and the president's party, when people give up on looking for work, they also give up on trying to vote," Frum said. "They become detached from society. And those are the people he needs to motivate. They have to at least have hope. And here they are demonstrating when they quick looking for work they are giving up on hope."
In a statement released by the White House, Alan Krueger, the chairman of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, wrote that the report did indicate the economy was recovering.
"While there is more work that remains to be done, today's employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression," Krueger wrote. "It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007."
As reflected in Democrats' struggles over answering the question "are you better off today than you were four years ago," the president's team must maintain a balance between touting the ways the economy has improved, while still recognizing the dire circumstances facing millions of Americans.
Former President Bill Clinton, speaking to delegates Wednesday, summed up the Democrats' challenge this way: "Many Americans are still angry and frustrated with the economy. Though employment is growing, banks are beginning to lend and even housing prices are picking up a bit, too many people don't feel it."
If Obama is re-elected, Clinton said, "You will feel it."
The president himself made a similar pitch Thursday, saying "change will not happen" if voters turn him away in November.
"The truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades," Obama added.
Maybe the dems should use this as pressure for Congress to pass the President's Jobs Bill. Take it to the American people.
Go to Offense!
I would like Republicans to explain to me how that "TRICKEL DOWN ECONOMICS" are working for you!! Are you feeling warm and fuzzy all over!! You want to blame the President... you better clean your own closet first. Straight Democratic Ticket Nov. 6th!!!
But Insight Iowa, these are the results of your straight Democratic win in 2008. You won. Administration, House and a filibuster-proof supermajority in the Senate. Here we are. You won. America lost.
I blame the REPUBLICANS for this. For four years these skeeves have put their politics ahead of the nation. The scum that calls itself a Republican is more interested in hate, bigotry, and scapegoating America than in getting this country back to work.
Republicans did this to us, and Republicans have continued to bankrupt the country in order to pursue their agenda of greed, and extremism. "Let them eat cake" say Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.
"Pull out the Guillotine" say patriotic Americans ! ! !
Another anemic jobs report out today below expectations indicating job growth continues to lag population growth and the economy continues to weaken rather than strengthen. The only reason the unemployment rate ever drops is because more and more people continue to drop out of the job market entirely and are taken off the books. This election is about nothing more than jobs for the American people and Mr. BO has been a pathetic and miserable failure, period!
Well this is one time that the Republicans think that people who don't wan to work should be counted.
30th straight month of Job Growth. There is a difference in Gaining Jobs and Losing Jobs per month. Right wingers can spin it how they want. I repeat 30th straight month of Job Growth. Those are the FACTS.
Sorry dems. Reality once again interrupted your illusions.
Are We better of than 4 years ago? Yes, it is was better 4 years ago. This man with basis train just cannot do it. We vote for president who train for community organizer. He is good man, good father, his family. Mich. Obama want start to travel all over the world again. Until nov. 6 she not going to do it, but after She unleash herself and her family.
More Tape Please
Time for the government to start hiring again – that will take care of the unemployment problem! I agree with you on your post but the Republicans will disagree why because they want this to happen. Even before Barack Obama took the oath office, Republicans leaders, conservative think-tanks and right-wing pundits were calling for total obstruction of the new president's agenda. Bill Kristol, who helped block Bill Clinton's health care reform attempt in 1993, called for history to repeat on the Obama stimulus – and everything else. Pointing with pride to the Clinton economic program which received exactly zero GOP votes in either House, Kristol in January 2009 advised:
Seriously??? Let me ask you this – Which party showed better judgement on how to run a convention? Which one actually carried out a plan without a flaw? Answer is pretty obvious. As far as the jobs number is concerned it doesn't take into consideration the millions working under the table for cash or how the new world economy is sharing the wealth. Get used to it folks. It doesn't matter which party is in power IF you all don't start buying locally made products and STOP inveting in imported goods ESPECIALLY imported cars your economy will continue to struggle. If you are not part of the solution – you are part of the problem – TAKE RESPONSIBILITY and stop blaming everyone else.
Well, the convention is over and all the clowns have been stuffed back into the clown car...
Do we wish the new jobs numbers were higher? Yes.
Have the Repubs done everything they can to keep them low, regardless of the suffering that involves? Yes.
Are the Repubs proposing the same failed policies, which everyone with a working brain knows will take us back to an economy that was losing 800,000 jobs a month? Yes.
Does President Obama have a specific plan to keep us moving in the right direction? Yes.
Pretty simple choice: Obama/Biden 2012
Thank you Mr Obama for you service. Pop into the White House and say Hi to the Romney's once in a while.
When do we trust what Yobama says when he doesn't follow his own words, "If I can't turn the economy around then I will be a one term"?
The state of Massachusetts is a testimony to Romney's failed policies when it comes to job creation...47th out 50 in the nation when he was governor. How could he possibly be good for America? How?
@myviewis: "So the private sector is not doing well. Democrats are finally facing reality that things are not good. "
HA! While it may not be as high as we'd all like, the jobs number is POSITIVE, unlike the failed Repub policies Mittens wants to re-implement, which resulted in our economy losing 800,000 jobs a month!
BTW, Moody's (and others) have analyzed the data and reported that if the Repubs hadn't blocked President Obama's jobs bill, there would be an additional 1.5 million jobs right now.
If you insist on supporting Mittens, myviewis, I can only conclude that you are either incredibly dumb or incredibly anti-American.
Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice
How is this bad news? We are still adding jobs not losing them. Why are republicans wishing for bad news for the American people just so they can win an election? I'm sticking with Obama!
Heckuva job, Barry... one heckuva job. Keep up that "laser focus" on the economy.
Good for the POTUS! More jobs created! We love you and support you!
Thank you enuff! I just read the Rolling Stone article about Shameless Romney and the Bain he created!
OBAMA 2012. A man with a MIND and HEART!
"Jobs report brings end to Democrats' convention high"
NO IT DOES NOT! ! !
Before President Obama took office we were LOSING THOUSANDS OF JOBS A MONTH
Now we are GAINING THOUSANDS OF JOBS A MONTH
is it going as fast as we wont it? NO
Are we moving in the right direction YES!!!
ARE WE STILL FIRED UP AND READY TO GO?!?!
A one month decline in unemployment is actually a good thing, especially to those 96,000 people who now have a job.
You people in the news media will turn every good piece of news into something negative. Who are these unnamed "economists" who say that 96,000 is a bad thing?
Americans are arrogant people. I do not understand how 96.000 jobs created is a bad news. So you want to
tell me if that was 96.000 loss is a good news?
Spin it all you want RIGHT-WING nuts! Unemployment falls! YAHOO!
Record CORPORATE PROFITS. Corporations have been able to make more profits by doing less ... meaning less hiring. That is why the BUSH TAX CUTS for the RICH need to expire. Now that the economy is on more stable grounds, Corporate WELFARE must end so that the RICH will be more willing to INVEST (in workers) to create more to increase profits.
Increase Corporate WELFARE => Decrease in JOB HIRING
RIGHT-WING nuts: if you want more jobs, then the gov't needs to spend more on infrastructure improvements so that PUBLIC SECTOR jobs increase. This will in turn, stimulate more PRIVATE SECTOR jobs growth.
But oh wait, you don't want the gov't to spend. You can't have it both ways. More CORPORATE WELFARE tax cuts is not going create more jobs. If you want the gov't to create jobs, then the gov't has to spend on more PUBLIC projects.
Lastly, do you really think Mormon Bishop Mittens actually has any business credentials?
Google: Federal Bailout 10 MILLION Saved Bain Capital and Mitt Romney
Google: Federal Bailout 2.7 BILLION Saved Utah Olympics and Mitt Romney
I live in Northern Virginia AND I'M VOTING STRAIGHT "D"!
TAKE THAT , RETGHUGS!