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. Mike

    How about we stop with manufacturing jobs? How about we work towards individuals becoming more educated and not just welding pieces together. Lets be the designers of the world and not just the saps whom mine for coal.

    October 5, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  2. Ind.

    The unemployment rate fell to 7.8% in September, down from 8.1% a month earlier. 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.

    Can you say COOKED?

    October 5, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  3. rrd

    Interesting that when unemployment went up .2 a couple of months ago it was no big deal, now it down .3 and it's WOW.

    October 5, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. Rose

    Does anybody believe that M. Romney really cares about the middle class, let alone the poor? He will even cut funding for PBS, which is NOT FOR PROFIT. Anybody who watches or who has watched PBS/PBSkids must THINK twice.

    October 5, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Cesare57

    While I'm voting for Obama, I'm afraid Romney is largely right on this one. We need to add 130-140,000 jobs a month just to keep up with the number of people entering the workforce. When you're only adding 116,000 and the unemployment rate drops .5% – a huge amount for one month – it's because many of those jobs added are part time, and because many people have simply given up looking for work and therefore are no longer considered unemployed, statistically speaking.

    October 5, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. kathy/Minnesota

    Mitt Romney,is such a non-feeling character he has been responsible for forcing families onto "FOOD STAMPS" after taking over their company. And now he wants to say "some" growth is not enough?....what a jerk.

    October 5, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. Draxta

    Is this what is meant by "hope"?

    October 5, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. bigdaddy

    These numbers are bogus. As Samuel Clemens said 'Lies, damn, lies, and statistics'. The Chicago way is all about lies and distortions – and a willing 4th estate. Intelligent people look into the details. The simple fact is fewer people are working today than when the recession ended in June 2009 (that according to economists). We need someone in office who actually understands economics – neither choice is perfect – but the current occupier is certainly in over his head. And please libs and progs don't start calling people who disagree with you names – sometimes your responses are ridiculously juvenile.

    October 5, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. liberal disease

    i don't believe our government and putting out a lie like this is immoral and an injustice to all the peple who have given up

    October 5, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. Ancient Texan

    tomnikoly- Just so you'll know, the unemployment under Bush was 4,7% average over the 8 years.

    October 5, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. jon

    Corporations gave away millions of our good paying jobs over these past 3 decades. "Maximize profits for the shareholders" is the boardroom cry. Great.

    October 5, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  12. NoddaLib

    This president will desperately latch onto anything to support his reelection. The data actually shows 42,000 less jobs created in Sept than Aug.

    October 5, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Bill

    They did not mention the reason for the drop, which had to once again be related to people "dropping out" of the job market, and the Labor Participation rate taking a further plunge into new lows. Why is it that people do not understand that is just a number, and you need to look further as to why it dropped? If it was caused by people who stop looking for jobs, IT MEANS NOTHING!!

    October 5, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Barry In Las Vegas

    These are the numbers CNN and the rest of the MSM have been waiting for so Obama and his team fixed them so they could givethe favorable talking points to the compliant press.

    How about doing something diffeent and looking to the real numbers and how Obama manufactured these – just like you would do if a Repbulican had tried to fake the numbers.

    October 5, 2012 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  15. xfiler93

    When you have liberals questioning the validity and timing of the most dramatic drop in unemployment in 29 years, you know something is up. Chicagoland thugs like Axlerod and the DEAR LEADER will do anything to stay in power. Outrageous.

    October 5, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. USMarineCorpsCaptain

    Anyone who believes in the government unemployment numbers simply does not understand how unemployment is calculated, nor how it truly affects the economy. And if you are cheering the 7.8% number as a sign that Obama's policies are working...well, you are sadly, sadly mistaken. We are woefully behind the power curve in terms of turning this economu around and 114K jobs simply will not cut it. If you a really not an ideologue – whether Democrat or REpublican – you would do a little investingating of your own to discover the true unemployment numbers. Obama has, pure and simply, failed in every aspect of his promises to America he made 4 years ago. He has nothing new up his sleeve to offer, so why do you wish to give him another 4 years? A logical case, based in facts on the ground and not lies in either meida houses, cannot be made for him. If you thought the previous 4 years sucked...elected Obama and see just how bad it can get...

    October 5, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. Jesse

    This recovery sucks! We can't afford another 4 years of this!

    October 5, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. Pat

    Why is it ok for Obama to say that putting our nation 4trillion in debt (during his 2008 campaign and referring to Bush) was unpatriotic but now he's tripled that debt and he thinks it's fine? I thought he was the saviour? Hope...Change...what a crock. This guy knows nothing about running a checkbook. We have real economic problems that need real solutions. We need someone who's actually governed and has run a business to solve this issue. Obama is in way over his head and that became very obvious in the debate a couple of nights ago. My 5year old could've debated better than Obama.

    October 5, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. Chief

    how is 114,000 jobs a boon when there is over 23,000,000 people out of work ?

    October 5, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  20. jEAN bROWN

    tHANK YOU, PRESIDENT OBAMA. MY TWO DAUGHTERS ARE NOW EMPLOYED, AFTER TWO YEARS. GOD BLESS YOU PRESIDENT OBAMA. I AM BEHIND YOU 100%. WE ARE IN THE 47% MR. ROMNEY HAS FORGOTTEN ABOUT. ,

    October 5, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. Brian197

    Folks, CNN disproved the 5 million jobs created myth after the debate. They figured oblamo has created 125k jobs. Far cry from 5M. So stop with the false information.

    October 5, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  22. Chico

    WHAT IS ENOUGH FOR MITT I CALL HIM THE ROBOT MACHINE VENDIN MONEY MACHINE, THAT IS ALL HE CARES. THIS MAN NOT FEELING AND NEVER IS GOING TO RECOGNIZE WHAT OTHER PEOPLE ACCOMPLISHED, HE USED TO HIS OWN SHOW AND AGENDA THAT IS HOW HE SCREW THE LIFE OF OTHER PEOPLE. i THINK I GO THE MESSAGE HE SHOULD BE BACK TO HIS CHRONIS BUDDIES AND HE WILL ENJOY HIMSELF. NOW THE UNEMPLOYMENT IS BELOW OF 8% IS GREAT AFTER PRES FOUND THE A BLEDDING ECONOMY AND LIKE BILL CLINTON AND OTHER REALISTICS EXPERTS HAVE STATED THAT FOUR IS ENOUGH THE STOP THAT BLEEDING ECONOMY THE REPUBLIC CONGRESS AN AND BUSH LEFT. PRESIDENT OBAMA DID AND IS DOING OUTSTANDING FOR A RECOVERY AND WE ARE WITNESSING HIS ACCOMPLISHEMENTS.

    October 5, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  23. DaveinPA

    You can't trust a single word from Romney's mouth.

    October 5, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. Sam

    Removing people from the job universe to lower the unemployment number is a boom for Oblamo? 118k people got jobs, mostly part-time and democrats think it's time to celebrate? Wow, you just can't lower the bar any more than that.

    October 5, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  25. FedUpInSeattle

    4 years later is not about Bush, it’s about what Obama claimed he could do and could not by just depending on higher taxes to create jobs. It’s about Obama being the only President in 60 years not to grow the economy after a recession. It’s about Romney being able to do what Obama said he could do. It does not matter what Bush left Obama, it’s about how Obama chose to fix it. And given the housing bubble caused by the Left and the Wall St. issue caused by Right, to keep claiming this is only a Bush left Obama economy is not correct.

    October 5, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
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