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. James

    Gas prices skyrocketing again

    Think of Obama every time you fill up your gas tank....and buy food........

    *Obama’s Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) plan to propose a Tier 3 rule on vehicles. These Tier 3 standards will cause gasoline prices to rise up to 25 cents a gallon.

    *Obama’s energy secretary has said
    he thinks we'd all be better off if gas cost $7 per gallon

    *Obama puts moratorium on drilling in the Gulf as oil rigs are moved
    to South America. South America is ecstatic to get them, the profits and the JOBS…

    *Obama kills the Keystone pipe line

    *Obama/Democrats – No oil from ANWR ……

    *Obama: My Plan Makes Electricity Rates Skyrocket (Yes Obama, we know)

    Yes, think of Obama every time you fill up your gas tank....and buy food.

    Obama and accomplices are doing their best to make sure you pay more no matter if it hurts the middle class or the poor....

    Could you imagine what gas prices would be now if Obama and accomplices were able to inflict Cap and Trade on America.....thank you Party of No....

    October 5, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. JL

    "This is the worst thing that could happen to our country" – Republicans
    "Horrible, simply horrible"-Congressman (name withheld)
    "It couldn't happen at a worse time. I'm sickened"- TeaParty Leader
    "Obama must have pushed the "employment button" finally"-conservative-conspirancy radio host

    October 5, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  3. Ind.

    This convinces me to vote for Romney / Ryan.

    The unemployment numbers don't add up by far.

    October 5, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  4. Another ThinkBeforeYouRead Story

    Love how he is taking credit for successful businesses hiring when he tells those businesses regarding their success', they didn't do that. "Somebody else made that happen!"'

    Well Mr. Obama, you didn't create that unemployment rate, manipulation made that happen!

    October 5, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  5. EJ

    To fescobedo999, why, because it would aide the desire of the Romney Camp to make the president look like he does not know what he is doing. The news reporters are doing the correct thing by reporting the continued recovery of an economy devastated by 8 years of "Republican Trickle Down Economics".....if not for the obstructionist acts of the GOP this country would likely be further along in its recovery.

    October 5, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  6. Hal Atosis

    It will be interesting to see how the rate will just as surprisingly increase after the election.

    October 5, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. Mark

    Romney is in left field without a glove. He hasn't a clue. And why do he keep changing his opinion on issues? He's as bad a s John Kerry and the republicans dubbed him a flip-flopper. Ronmey's is worse than Kerry and completely out of touch with the average American.

    October 5, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. James

    Obama sends out his staff to LIE on the Sunday talk shows about the attack at Benghazi to protect his asssss
    Obama discloses top secret infomation that endangered our troops to make his assssss look good
    Obama tells Lockheed to break the law and not layoff workers until after the election to protect his asssss

    The Obama lies about Romney were put down when meeting face to face with Romney. Then Obama goes out and continues those same lies.....What a coward and liar.

    Department.The Household Survey showed a gain of 873,000 people employed in
    September – resulting in the drop in the unemployment rate –
    while the Establishment Survey only showed a rise of 114,000.
    Looks like the Liar in chief is at work again

    Snake Oil Salesman always have that nice friendly engaging smile while they lie through their teeth....

    Obama is the snake oil salesman with his accomplices in his butt kissing media....

    October 5, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. lolo

    He just thinks that since the debate it is in the bag, so he is on a high right now. Too little too late Romneyhood and you stood up there and still was lying through your teeth. You did not change anyones mind to vote for you, but the republicans who were not sure about you (The Evangelicals). They can vote for you all they want to but you will not be president of these United States.

    October 5, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. cnn

    mmmm..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 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. michaelz06

    Waiting for the press conference where Obama crows over personally getting that elusive 0.3%

    October 5, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  12. jsmoulder

    An increase in part time jobs does not replace the loss of higher paying manufacturing jobs.

    October 5, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  13. Bob

    Ohnono should create REAL jobs. A job at Walmart or McDonalds isnt a real job. What about all the unemployed construction workers? Oh yea now they have obamacare. Yea that'll pay there mortgage. What about the BILLIONS and BILLIONS Ohnono invested in GREEN companies that are now OUT OF BUSINESS. Yea, 4 more yrs of "yes we can" isnt a option. Should have read "NO HE DIDNT!!

    October 5, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. sufferingsuckotash

    Boy, We sure are getting a lot of WHINE out of all these sour grape republicans! I'm almost drunk with laughter! When things get better under a democratic president its a bad news day at faux news and all the tin-foilers are frothing!!! I love it. And Mitt is flip-flopping himself again. Not only is Mitt an empty suit, he's a cheap one too! You'll get whatever you want out of this guy for a single vote, it just depends on what room with what group of people you're in when he's bending over and offering it up! Gotta love a serial liar. Keep playing spin the good news republicans, your unpatriotic a**es won't be happy until this country fails and is sold off as scraps to china.

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

    I suspect that if Mitt is elected we can all say goodbye to the middle cla-ss medicare, interest and tax write offs.

    October 5, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  16. justinw

    111K new jobs move the unemploy rate from 8.1% to 7.8%? Please do not insult our brain !
    They cannot debate, but they are cooking expert of the numbers. I am an immigrant from a communist country. I know their cooking technique.

    October 5, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  17. BobW

    Well now I know where all the math wiz's congregate.

    October 5, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  18. Mike

    For all you koolaide drinking morons that sing Obamas priase, This does not factor into the account all of the people who have either given up or took jobs well below their qualifications. What has obama done that is so great? Spent Trillions, give amnesty to people who don't pay taxes, let foreign goverments tell us what to do. You all need to wake up. Also, stop blaming bush. You democrats have beat that drum to pieces. If any of you understood financial markets at all, then you would realize all the banking issues in this country were the result of Clinton Policies (IE. The Bank Modernization Act of 99). Also the mortgage crisis came about due to Barney Frank and his cohorts passing legislation that allowed mortgage companies to loosen there qualifcations for loans. Remeber the slogan every american should own a home. Probably not, because that would require some of you to read!

    October 5, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  19. cnn

    with mitt, 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 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  20. Subin

    Romney you say its not enough, we say Romney you are not good enough to be our next president. I already voted for Obama.

    October 5, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. Bureau of Labor Statistics

    The drop was due to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' survey of households showing that 873,000 more people had jobs than in the previous month. That was the biggest one-month gain in more than nine years.

    That is from their own report...

    October 5, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  22. Marty, FL

    The conspiracy theorists are unbelivable and desperate. It's shameful how Romney and his followers want negativity against our country. Not presidential material.

    October 5, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  23. MS OF NY

    Only Fact that we know about Mitt Romney is that he is son of George Romney, Husband of Ann and father of 5. Everything else has changed so many times that no one can tell for sure where he stands on issues. Even Mitt himself doesnot know it.What is the guarantee that if he is elected which of his positions he will adopt? Even Repugs must be so confused with their candidate. Yet they support him because they have personal g r u d g e over Obama and they ha te him.

    October 5, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. Valar Morghulis

    We all watched Romney's snake oil sales pitch Wednesday. Sorry Willard, we're not buying it. Your entire campaign is based on dishonesty. You're on tape bragging about being a "severe" conservative. Now you're pitching how moderate and all inclusive you are. You made a lot of noise the other night, but that is all it was NOISE. What a joke.

    Vulture/Voucher 2012 going down, down, down.

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

    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 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
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