October 7th, 2012
04:03 PM ET
2 years ago

CNN panel: What does the jobs report mean for the campaign?

(CNN) – In a week that looked like it would end with widespread criticism of President Barack Obama's debate performance, it instead closed with a slight boost to his campaign with Friday's surprising jobs report, according to a CNN roundtable.

The report, released by the Labor Department, showed that 114,000 jobs were added during the month of September, and that the unemployment rate had fallen to 7.8%, down from 8.1% in August. The jobs report was less of a happy occasion for the president and more of a relief the week did not end with politically harmful jobs statistics, CNN Chief White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin said Sunday on "State of the Union."

– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

Yellin said the unemployment rate was a "symbolic" marker for the president, as it occurred at a point in the campaign when many undecided voters begin to decide their pick. In addition, she said, the job numbers drew attention away from the debate.

Joining Yellin on the roundtable were Moody's Analytics Chief Economist Mark Zandi, Former Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin and New York Times White House Correspondent Jackie Calmes.

Holtz-Eakin warned that it might be too soon to celebrate just yet, as the numbers could be readjusted with a higher unemployment rate in next month's jobs report. That possibility, he said, would hurt the president, as the report is due to be issued the Friday before Election Day. Calmes pointed out that many people will have voted by that point through early voting.

Calmes also noted that the decreased unemployment rate was even better than it looked, as it resulted from people finding jobs, rather than people quitting the job search and leaving the labor force. Holtz-Eakin did call attention to the fact that labor force participation was at its lowest levels since 1981, although Zandi said much of that was due to demographics.

With the positive jobs report, Calmes said she believes that Republican nominee Mitt Romney should continue to focus on the economy, saying the campaign has been hurt in recent weeks when it focused on other topics.

Yellin said the candidates should talk about the economy through personal stories, which could allow the candidates to "break through" with voters. She pointed out that Romney during the debate told a few stories of struggling Americans he had met on the campaign trail and said that helped him. Romney, rather than focusing on the abstract, should "get away from the [jobs] numbers, and tell the reality," she said.

Holtz-Eakin also dismissed the theory among some conservatives that the Obama administration manipulated the jobs report for political gain, saying "the numbers were collected in a professional way," and were a "statistical anomaly, not a conspiracy." Zandi called the theory "silly" and "counterproductive."

Calmes said that if the conspiracy was real, then the White House should have been manipulating jobs reports much earlier, as most voters had probably already made a conclusion about the economy's trajectory.

Zandi also discussed a Moody's projection that has Obama winning the election based on the economies of individual states, pointing to the improving economy of Ohio in particular, and said the administration's bailout of the auto industry was a major boost for the state.

The roundtable also briefly previewed Thursday's vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Romney running mate Paul Ryan.
Holtz-Eakin said it will give voters the opportunity to see Ryan for the first time without the "distraction of the campaigns" and that people will "be surprised by what they see." Yellin said Biden will have to try to make up for Obama's debate performance and that Biden has historically been a strong debater.

Watch State of the Union with Candy Crowley Sundays at 9am ET. For the latest from State of the Union click here.


Filed under: 2012 • Economy • TV-State of the Union • unemployment
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. cooking the books...there's no doubt about it...

    ya, all of a sudden, a month before the election, the rate goes from 8.1 to 7.8 when for 4 yrs its barely budged...ya right.

    something is off...maybe the new job surveys they took were taken from mainly democrat owned businesses??? something reeks to high heaven on this one...

    October 7, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. Gurgyl

    Why shouldn't it?? Nonsense. GOP thugs are nasty idiots. Enough this mess by them. Obama12.

    October 7, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. jaggar

    The jobs report means nothing right now. Stores are getting geared up for the holiday season beginning with Halloween and going through Christmas. This will help to make it appear jobs are on the rise. The jobs report means nothing unless the jobless numbers continue to decrease and holds steady month after month.

    October 7, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. freedom

    These percentage points don't mean anything to the people out here working multiple parttime jobs instead of a full time job in a solid career path. Instead of this administration working toward this end in the last four years, they have increased the deficit into the stratosphere. Romney has the business experience and proven success to lead us to prosperity once again. The American spirit is strong and alive and needs opportunities and freedom to thrive – with a new leader.

    October 7, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. judy

    Job numbers are good and each month indicates an increase. Is it percect no but a steady improvement. Obama and Clinton are two different people stop trying to compare the two. Look at the facts and try to understand that romney lies and does not back down unless he thinks it will get him votes like with his 47%. These are not the part time holiday jobs that will be reflected in next months jobs numbers and there is no way to cook the books. Stupid repos are the same people that have the president born in anothet country and being a muslim. You will never get these people to change their minds . To them not releasing tax returns and keeping money over seas or in a swiss bank account to avoid taxes is just fine. Investing in chineese companys instead of the US is ok. They are blinded by the fact that Obama is president and a majority of people voted him in. We the majority can do it again. Vote all repos out. They have no morals and will lie about anything .Bring jobs back to America and watch the job numbers go up. Forward.

    October 7, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. jpmichigan

    The job number do not show the REAL PICTURE, nor does the Obama administration tell the American people the truth. It would be closer to 11- 14% unemployed, with under employed and those not even seeking employment. The number of food stamp and mediaide recepients show that. Obama panders and fabricates numbers to make himself and hiis administration look and feeel good, I just have to ask my neigbors and friends and know what is really going on!

    October 7, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. n

    Here they come, the three headed Loom, Doom and Gloom beast of the republican obstruction party of "No" When will they learn, when God is on your side who can stand against you. No matter what they throw at President Obama, he comes out on top because he is anointed and appointed by God . . . Period.

    October 7, 2012 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  8. helmetbreaker

    The real measure of unemployment is the overall unemployed including those who quit looking and those working part time jobs till they can find employment! It stayed stagnant at 14.7% The count that changed the 8.1% to 7.8% was created by a survey of a small percentage of "in home" Americans that showed an increase of 783,000 jobs created, more than any other month since 1983. Believable? This count is subject to correction in November. Only 114,000 jobs were created in all other markets and that is far less than needed for recovery! Profit reports will be coming in starting Tuesday and will tell a lot more about the last three months and what is expected for the final quarter. Economists expect very low margins, missing projections, and may result in a stok market correction as stocks are now overvalued!

    October 7, 2012 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  9. Neighbors Helping Neighbors.

    I bet the jobs report means a lot to all of the people that were hired in September. I know several people that were hired for full time well paying jobs with good benefits. Never count our Country out we have been through this before and always came back. Obama/Biden 2012 because the USA needs you.

    October 7, 2012 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  10. Lost

    It took time for the economy to falter as it has, and it will take time to repair it, responsibly. No quick fixes. I don't believe Mittens with his spew about opening up pipelines to help jump start the economy.....what? Isn't it part of the reason we have tougher EPA legislation...and now he wants to partially do away with those? No way people. Open your eyes. Mittens is only speaking the minds of the callous. Why else would someone lead on a ticket where possibly 65% of the supporters and donors believe that the Pres is not a true American. I definitely did not believe Mittens when he claimed to have a plan to draw up 12 million jobs. Will these be jobs that will support the cost of living. Is there no one out there who is willing to fight to lower that? Why hasn't the jobs bill been approved? I believe that Mitty's recipe for progress is actually a kick off toward more wealth for the rich and greedy. I believe that he and his cronies will abandon the operation if it does not bear the success he claims it will. Is he willing to reverse he outsource of jobs, and will he ever be willing to learn to keep his mouth shut? We need to be patient, and our Pres is nursing the economy back to health responsibly by setting a firm foundation, not by reopening the old sinking wounds that have lead to stricter regulations to keep us from permanently running amok. Our thirst for instant gratification has not served us well, and this is the reason for the backlash against the Pres for the economy. Patience is a virtue, and if some of us need help staying afloat, then by all means help us. It will pay off well in the end, and we'll have a country that has good standing at home and abroad.

    October 7, 2012 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  11. Jeetu

    Republicans have been lying all along ando so when these now they question the numbers. They did not did not lquestion these numbers when they were against Obama. These numbers are calculated the same way as they were when Bush was President and by the same people.

    Romney/Ryan have lied all the time and Romney did a 180 degree turn at the debates. He gave up all the positions he held in his campaign through primaries and through October 2. Thus, we cannot trust him and hence cannot vote for him for POTUS. Thus, let us vote for Obama and other democrats in November election.

    October 7, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  12. Legalize Reason

    If you want to prove your case with statistics, then live with them. We are now living in the curious fantasy world where if facts do not fit ideology, then the first knee jerk response is to to discredit the facts. The GOP plan of sitting on the sidelines and hoping the recesison continues so they could pin the sluggish , it has to be a lie or a conspiracy. For me, I 'm voting for the guy that saved this country from a financial meltdown.

    October 7, 2012 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  13. geggyg

    @jaggar
    The BLS as wel as well as employment departments in other countries such as Australia, the UK issue uneployment statistics that are seasonally adjusted which adjust for things like a jump in temporary employment for holiday periods, then at the end of the holidays school/college kids leaving theses jobs and going back to school fulltime lThere are other factors they seasonally adjust for such as bad weather temporarily closing down areas or if the weather wasnt bad in a particular area not closing down areas These are just a couple of things they adjust for .

    October 7, 2012 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  14. Four and The Door

    judy
    ...Vote all repos out. They have no morals and will lie about anything .Bring jobs back to America and watch the job numbers go up. Forward.
    _______________________________________________________________________________________________
    How about them Obama jobs? Over half of the new jobs last month were part-time. We can do better. Romney/ Ryan 2012.

    October 7, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  15. Pkdusterv

    Do not worry if mitt gets in he loves to fire people and he will fire most of them

    October 7, 2012 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  16. palma06

    The most important fact of this election is who can lead us out of this dismal and depressing economy. Once we can fix our dollar and restore it back to it's full value, then we will have our country back. The core matter and heart matter of our country is broken and broken-hearted.

    After the dollar is fixed we can restore our global place in the world economy. From here we can grow back and develop back into a prosperous country. We will be able to offer the people an opportunity to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Additionally to a positive stable economy, the other bookend to a great nation is a strong military. No one wants or likes wars. However, we can not live with our liberty and freedom without the ability to protect them. Our borders and our interests both foreign and domestic, all need to be secure and safe for us to live in the global world of today.
    It is a sad reality.

    Throughout history the bookends that held great nations together were a positive working economy and a strong capable military. The past and our present shows us this. There is no American future without these two facts. Everything else in between is also important. But these good things can only come to the the people after our country is restored and in working order.

    Please exercise your right to Vote on November 6, 2012.

    October 7, 2012 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  17. BillSD33

    The unemployment rate has been dropping since it hit the high of 10.2% due to the major recession. It has slowly been coming down. If he was going to "cook the books" wouldn't he have had the job numbers up another 100k?

    Even funnier is that this was a chance for the right wing to say that there Bush tax cuts were creating jobs, but instead just started sounding like the Fillmore character in the Disney Cars movie "Conspiracy Man, its a dang conspiracy"!

    October 7, 2012 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  18. Marty, FL

    The improving numbers are a positive indication of steady recovery for our country going forward. Good news.

    October 7, 2012 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  19. Thomas

    Vote yes Big Bird ! Vote No Romney !

    October 7, 2012 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  20. CBR

    The jobs report was more positive. As soon as it came out the pundits and others were trying to put their own spin on it. It was wrong, it was correct, it was improved by the people at the Labor Dept., there was a conspiracy trying to make the numbers look good for the President. The more you heard the more you realized that these people need to go get jobs themselves.

    Did anyone ask those who were unemployed how they viewed the report? Did anyone try to figure out why the numbers would go up? Did schools just open with new hires? Were the store beginning to gear up for the holidays? Were companies hiring to manufacture goods for the upcoming holidays? Did positive growth in other parts of commerce gave people incentive to hire? And a hundred more questions. Can we now leave the pundits at the door and start figuring things out for ourselves? Then we will be ready to vote.

    October 7, 2012 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  21. Ken

    ya, all of a sudden, a month before the election, the rate goes from 8.1 to 7.8 when for 4 yrs its barely budged...ya right

    And if they had jumped to 15.1%, you would have said that the numbers were completely accurate and you and all the baggers (and Rush and Sean) would have been dancing in the street!

    Barely budged??? Down from a complete depression losing 800,000 jobs per month (Thanks, Dubya!) to this. Obviously we are on the right track even though America succeeding seems to tick you off!

    October 7, 2012 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  22. Charlie from the North

    CNN panel: What does the jobs report mean for the campaign?

    A heck of a lot more than a bad debate performance

    October 7, 2012 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  23. Obama Mama

    @Freedom- the deficit is still paying for Bush tax cuts and wars the congress will not let us end. Bush did not have a payment plan for the wars he started, nor did he have the tax cuts on the books. What do you expect, really. Congress needs to go, they do not pass anything to help the middle class.

    October 7, 2012 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  24. Obama Mama

    The only person who has cooked the books was Bush, no way to pay for the wars and tax cuts. Sounded good when he said it, but had no way to pay for either. At least Obama wanted to not pay for the wealthy tax cuts and give middle class a break for once.

    October 7, 2012 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  25. Bernard obryant

    Wow umemployment is good it down from 8.1 to 7.8 but we have to do more also not counting the people who drop out the work force

    October 8, 2012 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
1 2