October 5th, 2012
11:25 AM ET
2 years ago

Unemployment rate below 8% a boon for Obama, but Romney says not enough

Washington (CNN) – Friday's news that the nation's unemployment rate fell to 7.8% provided a much needed boost to President Barack Obama's campaign after a maligned debate performance, and left his rival Mitt Romney without a usual attack line criticizing the president for presiding over an economy with unemployment above 8%.

The report, which is the penultimate set of monthly jobs data before November's general election, also showed 114,000 jobs were created last month. The unemployment rate now stands where it did in 2009, when Obama took office. At a campaign rally Friday in Virginia, the president cast the number as an indication his policies were working.

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"Today I believe that as a nation, we are moving forward again. We're moving forward," Obama told a crowd of supporters in Fairfax.

The president, however, was careful not to crow too loudly.

"Every month reminds us that we've still got too many of our friends and neighbors who are looking for work," Obama said, adding: "Today's news certainly is not an excuse to try to talk down the economy to score a few political points. It is a reminder that this country has come too far to turn back now."

Romney ads: U.S. can't afford four more years of Obama

He also slammed his rival Mitt Romney, saying the GOP nominee wanted to give tax cuts to wealthy Americans at the expense of the middle class.

At an event in Abingdon, Virginia, Romney said that the country "can do better."

"There were fewer new jobs created this month than last month," he said. "And the unemployment rate as you noted this year has come down very, very slowly, but it's come down none the less. The reason it's come down this year is primarily due to the fact that more and more people have just stopped looking for work."

"So it looks like unemployment is getting better, but the truth is, if the same share of people were participating in the workforce today as on the day the president got elected, why our unemployment rate would be around 11%," he continued.

The new American job: Part time?

In January 2009 the labor force participation rate was 65.7%, according to the BLS. The September 2012 rate, as reported Friday, was 63.6%, an increase from the month before.

Those who are employed, Romney said, are "having tough times."

"The middle class is being squeezed with higher and higher costs and with incomes that have gone down by $4,300 a family," he said. "This can't go on. I'll tell you this, when I'm president of the United States, that unemployment rate is going to come down not because people are giving up and dropping out of the workface but because we're creating more jobs. I will create jobs and get America working again."

His message in Virginia's coal country echoed the paper statement he released after the Friday morning numbers came out. In that statement, he said, "this is not what a real recovery looks like" and pointed in particular to employment in the manufacturing sector.

In a statement Friday, Romney also said the numbers revealed by the Bureau of Labor Statistics weren't good enough.

"This is not what a real recovery looks like," Romney wrote. "We created fewer jobs in September than in August, and fewer jobs in August than in July, and we've lost over 600,000 manufacturing jobs since President Obama took office."

Friday's report showed revisions to the last two months of jobs data, indicating 181,000 jobs were created in July and 142,000 were created in August.

With Ryan by his side, Romney rallies Virginians in debate victory lap

Romney noted in his statement that a "real unemployment rate" which included Americans who have dropped out of the labor force would be higher, saying "The results of President Obama's failed policies are staggering – 23 million Americans struggling for work, nearly one in six living in poverty and 47 million people dependent on food stamps to feed themselves and their families."

Romney has been consistent in criticizing Obama for policies he said have made it harder for Americans to find jobs, and a consistent point in his stump speech and in interviews has been an unemployment rate unable to slip below 8%.

Romney used the figure in his closing statement at Wednesday's presidential debate, saying in a second Obama term high unemployment would prevail.

"There's no question in my mind that if the president were to be reelected you'll continue to see a middle-class squeeze with incomes going down and prices going up," Romney said, adding: "You'll see chronic unemployment. We've had 43 straight months with unemployment above 8%."

In his statement Friday, House Speaker John Boehner pointed to another bar for unemployment, writing the White House "said unemployment would be as low as 5.6% by now if Congress passed their 'stimulus' spending bill – instead, after four years of spending, taxing, and red tape, millions of Americans remain jobless, underemployed, or have simply given up looking for work."

Boehner, who acknowledged some "positive news" in the September report, said the 7.8% rate still was too high.

"Middle class families deserve better than perpetually high unemployment," he wrote.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, also pointed to a lower unemployment rate as a bar for success, writing "High unemployment remains a chronic condition in America, the seriousness of which is measured not simply by one number but by the millions of families trying to make ends meet in an impossible economy."


Filed under: 2012 • Jobs • Mitt Romney
soundoff (1,050 Responses)
  1. Lyla M

    This lying POS disgusts me big time. Did anyone else notice his rapid eye-blinking during the debate? A sign of lying. I know people who were considering voting for him until that debate. So, just because he "won", he has no substance when half of what he says is a smoke screen. Like he really cares about the middle class now? How convenient to move to the middle after kissing the butts of the far right. Can you imagine if Obama was the one sheltering his tax records and hiding money offshore? The righties would be outraged.

    October 5, 2012 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  2. wwf

    Nice turn around on the 47%. Too late for that. Only an idiot would believe you. Of course one cannot fix stupid, so there are plenty who will buy into something that you stood by for so long. Guess your lack of a bump after Wed. has you saying things that you would not have said before. Jobs report must really suck for you.

    October 5, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. Namejkane sfl a vote for lady parts romney the tax cheat and lyin lady parts ryan willcut your moms medicare and soc sec . .can you afford to pay for them???

    Who cares what romney the proven lier says ,he's going to lose in dem landslide in 30 days and then he will move to he only country he quallifies to be president of
    Somila !!!!!

    October 5, 2012 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  4. TY

    If it was 1.0% he will said the same. I think Romney mental state is a big concern. He change his mind on this and that. I just wonder if he does win(which i dont think so). When he get that 3am call and start a WAR than he wants to change his mind. Come on People this man has some serious issues.

    October 5, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. cc423

    What Romney meant to say "It's not enough jobs... shipped off to China in order to make investors richer."

    October 5, 2012 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  6. LocalVokal

    Nothing is ever good enough is it? If unemployment went to 0% tomorrow, they'd be saying it took too long. Why do Republicans only see the bad in every situation?

    October 5, 2012 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  7. Justin

    Unemployment could be less than 1% and Mitt wouldn't be happy. I think this report and the positive upward revisions to last two months job reports show the ecomonmy is steadly improving.

    October 5, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  8. Byteme

    Nothing President Obama does will ever be good enough for Mittens. The GOP and Teabaggers are nothing but haters, plain and simple.

    October 5, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  9. Human Being

    Sure you would creat 12 million Jobs on the first day lololololololololol

    October 5, 2012 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  10. the situation

    The Rethugs are too funny. When Reagan when into the the fall campaign in 1984, he had a job number of the mid 7% in unemployment, after having a recession in 1981-1982 and they call that acceptable. The President inherited an economy from the previous Rethug administration that was the worst since FDR took over the Great Depression from Hoover. The Rethugs are trying to say the recover can happen over night. It took FDR 10 years to get America back on track, you don't think with the world economic climate it will take him more than a term to correct what Bush, Cheney, Trent Lott, Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, all the repubs in the Senate and Congress did to help destroy America in 8 years.

    October 5, 2012 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  11. T'sah from Virginia

    ►Unemployment rate below 8%, but Romney says not enough◄
    That's because his "bad ash" thinks he's so damn tough!!!
    He stood on stage and LIED about everything he said in the past
    Now he wants to take an IMPROVEMENT for our country and throw it in the trash!!!

    I knew it – the Republicans sees the glass half empty and we see it more than half full – We are better off than we were 4 years ago!!!

    Obama/Biden 2012 – The Only Trusted Way Forward

    October 5, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  12. HOLY TIGHTY WHITIES WILLARD

    We've created jobs for 31 consecutive months now. We're not in a downward spiral as we were when the President took office. Obviously something stopped the bleeding. Some policy had to be put in place to turn the economy aroud. Hmmmmm. What could it be? Maybe it has something to with that $787 billion stimulus package. You know, the one that republicans claim up and down has failed, but the economy shows otherwise. Willard wants to go back to the bad old Bush days of spending and not paying for it. He still won't tell us how he's going to pay for this 20% across the board tax cut in his tax plan. We're waiting Willard.

    October 5, 2012 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  13. Chumlee

    Where the sun does not shine MitWit. You are a fraud, tax cheat, loser. All of which will surface. Puff you chest
    for now, you are still a loser and Obama will win re-election because YOUR LIES WILL CAUSE FOR RAPID FALL

    October 5, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  14. hyper

    Romney and GOP keep stating that America lost jobs under Obama, but they conveniently keep forgetting that Bush left him a total mess. It took Obama roughly 6 months to turn that around. (initially he was still in bushes fiscal year) and after that he had to wait for his measures to take effect. In this time period America lost 700.000 to 800.000 jobs a month. In the 1.5 years after this the job market rose to 200.000 jobs gained a month, that is a total of 1 million jobs recovered a month !

    Once the GOP took control of congress they however vowed to block every single one of Obama's job creating bills.
    That is 19 job creating bills fillibustered and blocked by the majority in congress, even though Obama has shown that he is more than capable of creating jobs if congress would let him. but since the GOP, has sworn to counter every proposal to work Obama out of office since they got elected... who is really at fault here.

    Romney needs to be put in his place for blaming Obama for the stagnant job market and people need to start pointing fingers at Mitts fellows in congress, because it is them that have been keeping this country from recovering for the past 2 years. If anyone is a failure, its the republican congress for being unpatriotic tea-party hardliners.

    October 5, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. Bill

    Romney is pathetic. Now enough, huh? Well this goof has no plan to create jobs – – he just contiunues to spout his nonsense and bash Obama. Got news for you Mittens, it is not working. Check those swing states lately? You will be home on November 7, thank goodness.

    October 5, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. jim

    What a surprise, Romney says it "Not enough."

    The rate could have dropped to zero and he would have said "It's not enough!"

    October 5, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  17. Candy Taylor

    Yeah right. So lets go back to the same policies that put unemployment over 10%! We are recovering and I want to stay the course. OBAMA 2012!

    October 5, 2012 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  18. Gabbo

    The jobs that are being produced under this Obama recovery are low-wage service jobs at that. Obama has been fully exposed !

    October 5, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  19. John

    Poor Romney can't get a break. The media set the standards for his debates so low (Palin anyone) that his good performance and Obama's lackluster. was deemed a miracle and amazing. But 2 days later one of his main talking points unemployment over 8% is gone. Now he will probably stick with 7. I must be alone because even though I was/am open to Romney, I was very puzzled by his on the fly policy position changes during the debate. Obama had a bad debate night performance wise, I think Romney had a bad performance policy wise. I live in VA and I can see the improvement in the labor market first hand and the stats show it too. If this keeps up for the next 2 months I don't see how Romney's central theme, that the Economy is bad and getting worse, will fit with reality and the American voter.

    October 5, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  20. betterdays

    That's great that the number of jobs created in August was deliberately "miscalculated" by almost 50% so that they could be added now instead. That's wonderful. Very clever.

    Now that everything is hunky-dory I will continue to vote against every Democrat and every levy that comes down the pike, knowing that Americans (especially those in my community) certainly don't need my help since everything has been fixed and is working perfectly.

    By the way, when Obama visits my city, Toledo, Ohio, which has become about 80% ghetto, he always manages to avoid the ghetto and act like it doesn't exist; no mention whatsoever. Amazing.

    October 5, 2012 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  21. AY

    Last few months:
    "8% for years because of Obama! Look what a state we are in!"

    Last few minutes:
    "Unemployment rate is not a good indicator of the economy"
    – Flip Flopney

    October 5, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  22. Mike D

    So now Romney says he was 'Completely wrong about the 47%'. This man scares the f*#k out of me. Honestly, how stupid does he think those 47% are? Romney makes 'Tricky Dick' Nixon look like a freaking Saint!!

    October 5, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  23. Yeah!

    Uh-oh mittens. One less talking point

    October 5, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  24. sally

    The real unemployment rate is 14.7% according to U6, so Obama can play with this other number all he wants but that doesn't fix the problem, that only fixes a number to below 8%. Romney is right. What this report tells is that job creation is SLOWING. And 500,000 full time jobs flipped to part time jobs - how is that good?!?!

    October 5, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
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