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.

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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.

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. NickAnast

    If Rmoney, Boehner, and the GOP really, truly cared about creating jobs, they would have passed the President's Jobs Bill a year ago. More than one million jobs would have been created by that bill. But then again, creating one million or more jobs would be bad for the Rmoney's and the GOP's chances of winning the election, and that's all they really care about. So no jobs for you.

    October 5, 2012 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. versus24

    Romney's tears taste good

    October 5, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  3. omvny

    Does anyone know where I can learn to do the Etch A Sketch shuffle? I think this is what I need to fulfil my daily calisthenics workout.

    October 5, 2012 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  4. Don't Waste Time on NOBAMA

    Someone please ask Obama what he is planning to do in next 4 years. What’s the un-employment and debt is going to be at the end of his 2nd term? I agree with Bill Clinton that Romney is well qualified to be commander and chief.

    October 5, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  5. Joan

    Wow! Some in the Romney camp are saying that the new job numbers were fixed by the Obama administration and these numbers are a lie. Well, did the Republicans fix the numbers for the last three years then so they didn't look good for the President? These guys are so mean. There are a few questions regarding the whole unemployment problem. At the debate, Romney boasted that he had worked with Democrats in Massachusettes to pass bi-partisan bills. Well, he was lucky then that he didn't have an oppostion party who had vowed that its main goal was to make him a one term Governor, who signed pledges to a non-elected lobbyist and who filibustred, obstructed or delayed every job producing bill. Wouldn't there be a lot more jobs right now if the infrastructure, farm, research and other jobs bills had been passed? Just wondering. It has been reported that many big businesses and companies are sitting on trillions of dollars that they could be using to hire employees and expand their businesses. Why aren't they doing this if that's what "trickle down" economics is supposed to do? These "job creators" are Republican supporters so could that be the reason? Also, why are the Republicans rooting for the economy to be in bad ahape and seem so upset when things look up? They are so negative about everything. Can't wait for the next debate!!!

    October 5, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  6. Puddin

    Of course, Romney would say the "numbers are not good enough," but he won't say how he could make them better. Is he hiding his magic wand?" In spite of the fact that the obstructionists in Congress are still sitting on Obama's Jobs bill, the economy is getting better slowly but surely. I'm hoping these same obstructionists will be voted out as their terms end. They are not there to serve the people, they are there to serve their desperation for power. They could care less that people and families have had to suffer immensively due to their behavior.

    October 5, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  7. Bryan Reed

    Smoke and mirrors. Report dropped to 7.8% ONLY by dropping 456,000 OFF the roles because they quit looking. Math in my book says 114,000 new jobs in September does NOT make up for the 456,000 that like magic are no longer counted. Facts are according to BLS and US Census is that we are actually looking at 14 to 16-million unemployed in this country and millions more left trying to support families with part time jobs. NO Mr. President that is not even close to good enough in this great nation. Time for true leadership in the office. America needs Mitt Romney NOW.

    October 5, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. anonoymous

    It's strange how everything that Romney says is a failure about the Obama admin is showing a real turn around. Job numbers up...housing up. I live in Kansas just saw on the news job numbers up 3yrs straight. Good paying jobs. Contrustion everywhere. Google fiber headquarters has moved here launching their new fiber network. Kansas may be red but the county I live in is BLUE! we see first hand what the president is doing for the country! Dont wanted to go bck to trickle down econmics! and we we love big bird!

    October 5, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  9. hingedlwnb

    You expected Romney to say otherwise?

    October 5, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  10. Kenneth

    Surprise surprise ... Mitt the flip flop Romney thinks that job growth is not enough. So Mitt how about giving just one specific thing you would do to improve the economy? I mean no taxes sounds good but if so then where will the jobs and/or money come from to improve the debt? How many jobs were shipped overseas and is there any potential for them to come back to the US under your leadership? Do you regret being a part of the reason why said jobs were outsourced in the first place? If you are elected, based on what I have heard from you, I really believe that all of the growth we have experienced would be eliminated. So what can you say to prove that your stance deserves my support? Please provide facts not the "just trust me" method of pandering.

    October 5, 2012 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  11. Tina

    My post is a reply to the headline: "Of course he does!"

    October 5, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  12. Rediron

    Taking away all the politics surrounding it...he is correct...unless everyone loves a 7% to 8.5% unemployment number I suppose

    October 5, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  13. amazing

    What a surprise! The unemployment cotinues to show steady progress and Mitt spins it as not good enough. The integrity of Romney is questionable and he is getting over confident based on his debate performance. Mitt, he is a little secret for you. The voters will look at your entire body of work not just one night. We know what you have said for 18 months and changes your positions now will only heighten our awareness of your deceit.

    October 5, 2012 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  14. Darlis

    Well, the rigth would never herald any remotely good news that they fear might benefit the President.. They have shown a complete willingness as obstructionists in every way to throw this entire country under the bus in thier attempts to regain the White House.... Let's all pray these people never control our future, unless we are the one percent.. How sad are these people... They see a conspiracy between every news item or number that does not represent their interests..

    October 5, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  15. z2cents

    Of course it is not enough. Because Romney has a secret plan to bring the unemployment rate to under 3% a year from the day he takes over..you just gotta trust the guy.

    October 5, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  16. SNAPPA

    He's right its going to take a lot more to recover from the disaster that was the Republicans. Thank goodness we have a president that cares for ALL the people.

    October 5, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  17. tee1227

    Boehner should ask is buddy mitch mcconnell why is it taking so long to get the numbers down !

    October 5, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  18. OB 2012

    The only foreign policy Mitt has under his belt is outsourcing jobs to other countries! Next debate should be better!

    October 5, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  19. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I don't think that anyone would like this unemployment rate unless it was huge before. There can be many things done to bring it down. Cutting taxes alone doesn't do much. We need to have investments in infrastructure and basic R&D that most companies don't have time, money and energy to do.

    October 5, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. bckerr

    Romney needs to stop telling us he has a magic goose that lays golden eggs. Tell us "HOW" you are going to bring jobs to the US. Manufacturing days are over in the US, there are no more major skyscrapers to build, no major buildings to be made, our manufacturing jobs are over seas. Explain to us how you plan to have Joe Schmoe start a manufacturing business to create jobs, please do. How you plan to bring the jobs over seas back to the US. Our industrial age is over. Now is the time to move forward with new energy ideas and technology. We will not be going back to the industrial/manufacturing age until we move forward with those ideas.

    But, I forget, you said in the debate, your plan is too long and complicated. Guess that magic goose isn't so eh.

    October 5, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  21. Freespirit

    Like he was going to say that was great news? Of course he is going to say "that's not enough."

    October 5, 2012 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  22. smithdp

    republicans like to throw in "since Obama took office" when discussing job gains or losses as Romney just did. What they always fail to mention is that the first few months Obama was in office we were still losing a half million jobs a month. As if Obama had anything to do with the wreckage he walked into after eight years of Republican Presidential leadership. If you started a new job and your predecessor left things in a shambles do you think you might get a few months grace period to straighten things out. And that's if you worked at Taco Bell, much less when we are talking about the entire U.S. economy.

    October 5, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  23. MG

    "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" You mean the same bill that was blocked by the Republicans. These people are out of their friggin Minds. GOP has road blocked everything including bills t hey support just because they want to get rid of President Obama. Unreal

    October 5, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  24. beevee

    It is easy to to say 'not enough'. It is a clear sign that the economy is getting better much to the disappointment of the GOP and the ever flip-flopping GOP candidate Mitt Romney. Romney wishes that the American people to suffer more so that he clan get elected but the writing is on the wall for him – he has no chance despite of his behaving like a bully in the debate. He is untested and what all he can offer is empty promises which no one should believe.

    October 5, 2012 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  25. Thomas

    I love guys like Romney and Boehner .

    They remind me of GW Bush and the days when stupid was cool .

    October 5, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
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