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. GI Joe

    Remember that Liberal Governor from Mass. a few years ago?? Hey baggers, he's gonna flip flop on YOU since he has gotten your money and your vote. ha ha ha ha ha haha ha ha ha ha

    I voted for Obama/Biden last Tuesday. Lots of folks did.

    October 5, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. Penny Wright

    America has added 5 million private sector jobs since the stimulus.

    Here’s what Bush left us with.....

    Aug 2008 – 334,000 net JOBS LOST
    Sep 2008 – 458,000 net JOBS LOST
    Oct 2008 – 554,000 net JOBS LOST
    Nov 2008 – 728,000 net JOBS LOST
    Dec 2008 – 673,000 net JOBS LOST
    Jan 2009 – 779,000 net JOBS LOST

    October 5, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  3. robert

    how is going from 10% to 7.8 not enough mittens? 5 million jobs created not enough for you. Hmm . how about all the jobs you fired while with bain capitol ?

    October 5, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  4. Lee

    "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."

    And how many would have beem lost, Mr. Romney, if Obama had not saved the auto industry that you would have let fail? Mr. Romney would have cost us over a million manufacturing jobs in my opinion.

    October 5, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  5. RetNavy2001

    Very valid points, when digging deeper into the report it reveals that the majority of the job increase was in part time work, labor department does not distinguish between full or part time work. Most people have given up on full time work and are taking what they can to survive. Where i work at I see more part time people coming into our department. WIth part time you do not have to pay benefits, saves the company money. I think we are going to see a change in the way businesses hire. Just my opinion

    October 5, 2012 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. Detada

    Hey Romney, you may claim the job numbers aren't real, but you are not a real candidate, so what does it matter?

    October 5, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  7. Shshshaw

    If the same amount of people were working today as were working when obama was elected, the unemployment rate would be 10.7%

    October 5, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. p

    Wow, how can you people be so stupid? Do you really think that these numbers are real? The same administration that is lying to us about Libya is lying to us about this. Democrats are so eager to believe that Obama is finally doing something right that they have completely lost all sense of reality.

    October 5, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. GI Joe

    The baggers were voted in in 2010 because they PROMISED jobs jobs jobs.

    Guess what. WE DON'T BELIEVE YOU BOEHNER.

    We want the Dems back in control of the House, or at least close enough to break the strangle-hold you all have had us in for almost 2 years.

    Vote the baggers out. Vote straight Dem in 2012.

    October 5, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. Cari

    There are no jobs folks & we are headed for another recession. So, good luck voting Obama again it will be the worst mistake ever.

    October 5, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. n222s

    Look, the numbers are what they are. Could there be some fudging going on? Who knows? But I will never stop getting a kick out of progressives who are convinced 9/11 was an inside job, intelligence was faked about WMDs, Wiener's pics were a photoshop conspiracy, the ambassador was killed over a video, O and Holder knew nothing about Fast & Furious but still claimed exec priv, that JFK was murdered by the CIA, etc., etc. but THIS, this number could never be fudged. LOL.

    October 5, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "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!"

    Nah. You have to realize that they care only about 1 thing: getting their guy elected and President Darky out of the WH. Rest assured, they looked at Mittens' debate performance of disavowing everythign he's been running on and pretending to be a moderate and thought the following: "Go get 'em Mittens...trick 'em into thinking you're a moderate so we can get you into office and go hog-wild with the ultra-conservative stuff." He might as well have been winking at them the whole time.

    October 5, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  13. Work it

    I suspect that if Mitt is elected we can all say goodbye to the middle class medicare, interest and tax write offs. And the wealthy will get even more grants and subsidies to build businesses off the middle class tax dollar. There is no economy without the middle class and there is no job creation without the middle class.. The middle class IS the economy.

    October 5, 2012 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  14. DP

    Romney can match or exceed Obama's debating skills – Presidency is not just about debating skills, it's about the intent and commitment to helping the middle class, the people of this great nation!

    October 5, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  15. TM

    "Not enough"? Hey Willard before you go running your mouth, why don't you tell us EXACTLY what YOU did over the last four years to create jobs? Take your time, we'll wait.....

    October 5, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. sandcanyongal

    Americans aren't whining, so many jobs have been outsourced by the greedy vendors that there are only $10 an hour jobs left. Either those jobs come back or throw out every single one of those traitors to America.

    October 5, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  17. josh rogen

    as fewer and fewer people look for work the number has to go down. I would expect a big jump in the unemployment numbers if Romney wins as all those people return to the job market. throw in the number of part timers and this recession makes the great depression look like a recovery.

    October 5, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  18. Inflated

    With this unemployment drop of .3% we are saying the economy grew 3-4% over the same period. Really!? The survey is skewed and we are back to a media that thinks our current administration can do no wrong.

    October 5, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. frank

    4 years for this result? Obama is just plain and simple BS only ignorants vote for him

    October 5, 2012 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    Why hasn't Romney (if he's such a great businessman) brought his foreign money back to the U.S.A. and invested in the country that made him wealthy? Because he's a SELFISH MORMON Bishop that preaches the same selfishness to his followers.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    October 5, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  21. Work it

    I suspect that if Mitt is elected we can all say goodbye to the middle cla-ss medicare, interest and tax write offs. And the wealthy will get even more grants and subsidies to build businesses off the middle cla-ss tax dollar. There is no economy without the middle cla-ss and there is no job creation without the middle cla-ss.. The middle cla-ss IS the economy.

    October 5, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  22. NameLiz

    Send this cult leader back to Boston. Mormons exclude anyone who is not in their church.

    October 5, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  23. JT

    Romney and the other racists would complain if Obama cured cancer, solved world hunger, and brought peace to mankind. They'd say it wasn't enough and took too long.

    October 5, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  24. Floridian

    Better move the election up, the economy is improving faster than Mitt can spin – and he is a world class spinner.

    October 5, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  25. robert

    I was watching new today also, they say manufacturing was going up also ,but not much. though its going up. its looking good.

    October 5, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
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