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."
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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.
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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.
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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."
Everyone out there that thinks the government should take care of every sniffle you have ,especially the effect of dope, will learn in the future the real cost of voting liberal.everyone that gets one red cent including a sociisl security check should have to prove citizenship and consent to a drug test.We can not survive the way this system has gone down hill in just about 25 years.
Despite McConnel's obstructionist ways, America is rising to the task. Were coming back folks. Filibuster this GOP senators.
fake numbers , these are seasonal jobs people, they are temporary it will go back up in January!
The mathematically challenged Dems will lap this up because they don't know any better. I guess ignorance is bliss.
is obama spending billions of taxpayers money hiring unneeded government workers?
obama has cooked the numbers on all jobs reports since in office. so aere there any of you obama fools who would like to put some money on this jobs report being revised up just like the other 46. come on fools lets make a bet!
Just as the many other statistics and numbers put out there, do one's own research to get to the truth. Most of the numbers put out there are skewed. A stage has come, mostly in the last three years, nothing can be taken to be true on its face value
Oops, with unemployment below 8%, looks like that old canard, that no President has been re-elected with a rate of 8% or higher, has effectively been tossed in the Fox sound bite dust bin!
The truth is this: U6 unemployment remained completely unchanged. The only way this would happen is if the reported numbers of 7.8 percent for regular unemployment is WRONG AND FUDGED IN ORDER TO LOOK GOOD. The number of new jobs is ridiculously low. I remember when Pelosi ripped Bush for 300k jobs in a month being a bad thing. Now 100k is a wonderful turnaround to the Dems. It's disgusting.
Hey John Boehner, You bright orange, umpa loompa looking A**hat of the house, Why dont you and the rest of the party of no stop dragging your feet and kick and screaming and join the winning team and do something for this country for a change instead of trying to sabotage the president for once?
What's pathetic is the Hussein Obamabots will believe literally anything their messiah tells them.
I think it says a lot about the president and his handling of the economy when 7.8% unemployment is viewed as a boon to his re-election bid....
Note to news organizations: Why don't you just report total number of UNEMPLOYED people?? Then we don't have to woryy whether or not somebody thinks some people stopped looking for a job (duh!).
It isn't enough..same thing corporations say about profit margin and why they went offshore.Never was about making money , they did that , it's about making more money.
Sorry Repubs. The economy is getting better, despite your side trying hard to keep us in poverty until the election. Party over country is not a great strategy.
Ask the person out of work, that is actually looking for work, if this number is enough.
The Labor Department, based on a broad survey of employers, said 114,000 jobs were added in September.
But the unemployment rate itself is based on a separate "household survey," which showed a whopping 873,000 new jobs in September.
"This must be an anomaly," former Congressional Budget Office director Doug Holtz-Eakin said in a snap analysis of the numbers. "It is out of line with any of the other data.."
Holtz-Eakin noted the household survey is smaller, suggesting it is not as reliable. He called estimate of 873,000 new jobs "implausible."
Liberal economist Dean Baker, with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, called the September rate drop "almost certainly a statistical fluke."
WE'VE LOST 600,000 MANUFACTURING JOBS SINCE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE BECAUSE this country lost more than 50,000 factories between 2000 and 2009. Romney knows that, but he persists in telling half-truths or downright lies. The man isn't fit to be president.
P.S. Don't forget to fire the Republician House and Senate, your local republican governors, anything republican on November 6th fire all of them.
obama could cure cancer and save a hundred babies from a burning building and republicans would find something negative to say. the republican party is pathetic compared to what it used to be. they are the racist party, ive heard people talk openly about their feelings about obama and they are disgusting! then they dance around prideful of what they just said, the only difference between the taliban and republicans is 2 words... god or allah
Come on people, don't be so naive and gullible. Presently we have the same jobless rate as when Obama took office.
a disgrace but you voted for him
is obama spending billions of taxpayers money hiring unneeded government workers?
That is EXACTLY what his veterans jobs bill would do!
I don't understand where did Romney get the number 23 million unemployment in America??? Every time he opened his big mouth, this is the number anyone would listen to.
I'm still in shock over the Extreme Conservative Mitt Romney. After the debate, I have no idea what he believes.
It was apparent he hates Big Bird and the truth.
I will take it... heck of a lot better then what the Repukes have to offer!!