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. fedupwcorruption

    If you cant debate.......just manipulate the numbers. The numbers just dont add up....even if you "are" the 25% that thought Obama won that debate. 114,000 = .3%??? maybe in Chicago. Why is noone castrating Obama for gas costing $4 a gallon (double what it was when he took office) when the previous president took it daily for it hitting $2? If you really believe that only 8% of your friends and fellow countrymen are out of work then you don't need to worry about all the rest of the fabricated unemployed people that are out of work showing up to vote for jobs...do ya??

    October 5, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. ug

    These are just temp jobs for the hiolidays and everyone knows it...just another lying spin by the libs...they try to make it look goof vor ovomit after he was destroyed a couple of nights ago and the media still covers for him and lies for him...reality will set in and your boy is gone next month! Vote Romney.

    October 5, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. MJER

    I owe my job and others at my growing company to Bain Consulting! Who gets credit?

    October 5, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. Michael

    What needs to happen is that folks in this country need to understand how unemployment is calculated and has been calculated for a long time. This macro-economic formula needs to be re-done to include those who are unemployed by the commonly understood definition: not working. Period. Only then can we get a true understanding of what is going on in the labor market.

    October 5, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. BLKMANinAmerica

    Us 47% will take it and I might add, not one repuk help to get America to this point so BOO!

    October 5, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  6. Jim in Houston

    This rate was obviously rigged by the labor department. You can not get a swing of that amount when only a little over 100,000 jobs were added in the month, unless almost a million stopped looking for jobs. I would hope if we get rid of the liberals, we can get reliable numbers and stats, even if they show we are not doing well. If we get 4 more years of Obama, we will only have about 100,000 people still working outside the government and liberals will be bragging that they solved the jobs issue.

    October 5, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    The U6, the ACTUAL unemployment rate, remained the same at 14.7%. The 7.8% figure was taken from *seasonal household figures. 2/3rds of the "gains" were in *part-time* employment (again, seasonal).

    We had 181K/July, 142K/Aug, and 114K in Sept......yet the rate went from 8.1% to 7.8%. ???? Try and spin that "growth" and math Libs.

    The workforce participation percentage is the lowest it has been in 30yrs, THEREFORE, it will necessarily, mathematically yield a smaller unemployment percentage.

    Again, the U6 remained unchanged at 14.7%. Unbelievable that so many, including a willfully ignorant, biased media in the tank for B.O., fail to understand this or accurately report it.

    October 5, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  8. Tiffany

    People who are saying these numbers are fake are ROVE TROLLS. The GOP has a bad habit of making extreme accusations with NOTHING to back it up. Facts don't matter when you trust and Etch-A-Sketch!

    October 5, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  9. Jack

    Of course Mitt says it's not enough. That's what is supposed to say. But, it's a good report. And Mitts debate performance won't make any difference in the end.

    October 5, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  10. CatSh

    I'm still waiting for the Tea Party heads to start exploding when they stop celebrating and realize that Romney pulled out his Etch A Sketch and dumped them Wednesday night.
    You remember that moderate Mass. governor? He's BAAAACCCKKKK!

    October 5, 2012 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  11. JC in Western US

    The GOP has held all of us hostage in order to make Obama lose. So they can't celebrate even the smallest success without jeopardizing their goal: His failure and ours.

    But he's not going to lose. And they're going to be left with a choice to either back off on the rhetoric and work with him, or continue to pretend that doing what they've been doing is somehow going to improve their chances in 2016.

    October 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. profwiggins

    What a joke. The unemployment doesn't go down .2% from 100,000 jobs, The us population is growing faster than that. It went down that much because people who have stopped looking for work don't count as the total unemployment percentage.

    October 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. Anthony A

    Derp Romney, the Real unemployment rate would be higher because it includes stay at home mom's and dad's, and people that have retired. Thanks for stating a given truth. Also in other news 1 < 2, and North is opposite of South.

    October 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. brian

    What is unbelievable is these GOP crazies who claim to love america yet root for it to fail because they don't like Obama... first they put us in this mess via Bush, then obstruct every attempt to fix things, and finally deny any progress that has been made. They take the term 'sore losers' to a new height.

    October 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  15. CatSh

    I'm still waiting for the Tea Party heads to start exploding when they stop celebrating and realize that Romney pulled out his Etch A Sketch and dumped them Wednesday night.

    October 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  16. Vote 2012

    Funny how he called his all 5 of his sons liars and had to gaul to compare them with President Obama. Well Mitt I've got some Zingers for you "your 5 lying sons earned it honestly, the apples didn't fall far from the tree, like father like sons, look in the mirror". You're a 'FAKE" which makes them fakes too. Who's your daddy Paul Ryan oh yeah Mitt Robme.
    '

    October 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. GIUK

    AAAAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh....What a bummer for the Mittens. Boo-Hoo.

    October 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  18. southernwonder

    romney today: "this job improvement is not enough".
    romney days later : "i was completely wrong about jobs."

    October 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  19. was for obama now for romney

    if this is the best newe ihear in 4 years of obam it further rpoves that i was let down by the guy i voted for...

    October 5, 2012 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  20. CatSh

    I'm still waiting for the Tea Party he ads to start exploding when they stop celebrating and realize that Romney pulled out his Etch A Sketch and dumped them Wednesday night.
    You remember that moderate Mass. governor? He's BAAAACCCKKKK!

    October 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  21. bill

    Does the "unemployment number " include those who are no longer collecting unemployment due to the fact that there benifits have expired ! Think about that and come up with a real unemployment number.

    October 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  22. Larry in Houston

    I wonder what he would do ? put more businesses into bankruptcy ? Then sell them off ? Then what ? Oh that's right ! put the money where you don't Have To Pay Taxes, in offshore accounts.
    vote democrat 2012

    October 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  23. Norma Vessels

    I'll just be glad when November 6 is past, and my vote counted for President Obama, and Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have gone back to their respective homes to make Chili.

    October 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. kbob365

    Private sector job growth under Obama: +967K, Private sector job growth under Bush: -647K. Estimated private sector job growth under Romney: -800K, unless you count Chinese jobs.

    October 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  25. CatSh

    I'm still waiting for the Tea Party heads to start expl oding when they stop celebrating and realize that Romney pulled out his Etc- A-Sketch and dumped them Wednesday night.
    You remember that moderate Mass. governor? He's BAAAACCCKKKK!

    October 5, 2012 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
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