October 5th, 2012
11:25 AM ET
10 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. nhmtneer

    Of course it's not enough, we all know that, but after the catastrophe of economy that Obama was handed by Bush and the Republicans, as well as the rampant Republican obstructionism in Congress, this is positive news that we're heading in the right direction, albeit slowly. We'd all love to have this number continue to drop towards zero, but that will not happen overnight and Romney's policies certainly wouldn't help this go any faster, at least not downward anyhow.

    October 5, 2012 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  2. riabm60

    The Mormon church is a multi billion dollar corporation, and growing.
    Romney's presidency will not only legitimize a religion that is conservative and sexist, it will bring him closer to his REAL long term goal of becoming the Mormon church's future President and Prophet.

    No thank you Mittens. Obama 2012

    October 5, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  3. Richard

    For all you evangelicals, you are all going where the cultist from the mormon cult go–straight to HELL! You can believe the lies your rethuglican party tells, but a higher power will judge just what kind of cult the evangelicals are! Not Christians, they wouldn't know what Jesus said if he came down to tell them. They just don't think like real Christians!

    October 5, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  4. Bob

    And Obama is the epitome of honesty???? Paaaalease. Better get the blinders off folks because if Obama stays in office, you may soon be in the bread line too. The worst is yet to come unless we make a change. If Obama stays in office, 4 years from now you will be feeling like a fool. I can't believe you don't already after the first 4 years. Is Romney the answer – probably not in the long run but he's the first step away from Obama and I'm all for that.

    October 5, 2012 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  5. Ind.

    Obama now politicizing the jobless rate.

    Politicizing this brings this administration to a new low but not unexpected.

    October 5, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  6. centrifuge in Iran

    below 8% is good enough for today.. Romney 🙂
    it hadn't been that low in a long time...Don't forget what Obama faced his first day in office .. the economy was going down down down ...but now it's picking up a little...long time since below 8... 🙂
    find something else to criticize .. 🙂

    October 5, 2012 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  7. FedRed

    Economist say that this econony must add more than 375,000 jobs each month for three years to lower unemployment to 6 percent and that is not likely with current policies.

    October 5, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. robo145

    Oh yea,we can reallly believe this.More Media manipulation and federal government shenanigans to make Obama look good. NOBODY believes this....

    October 5, 2012 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  9. Something Wrong Here

    WHERE IS CNN???? Obama administration is allowing Defense Contractors to circumvent the Warrant Act (60 day layoff notices) until after the election……..The tax payer (us) will pick up the tab on any lawsuits……What a sleaze bag!!!

    October 5, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  10. TruthMatters

    Last month we added about 100K jobs, rate fell 0.1 percent. Magically, we add about 100K jobs this month and rate falls
    0.3 percent. This is Obama's MAGIC UNDERWEAR. People should feel used with this kind of manipulation.

    Another stat - now obama has added 350,000 jobs since he took office. So a little a grade school math it will take more than 8 years of Obama recovery to add the jobs Bush lost in his last MONTH. It's the math stupid. What is being reported today isn't math. It's the media and BLS trying to bail out their lackluster standard bearer. It's disgraceful,. It's disgusting. Transparency? Yeah like a muddy puddle.

    October 5, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  11. julie

    if the rate fell to 5% ole mitt would still complaine that its not enough...............


    October 5, 2012 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  12. Evol 1

    First and foremost , God bless the US of A, am I pray that God will continues to Bless and protect from harm Our President and his Family, also the m,any outstanding men and women who make up his Administration . Now! I say this with No hate or Racist thought or feeling in my heart for anyone! But to be honest I find it real difficult keep my heart from being filled with Anger and Hate for all the Racist, ignorant, illeterate?

    October 5, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  13. robo145


    October 5, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  14. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Romney: "OOOOPS!!!!!!!!!"
    Obama: " Hey Romney, how you like me now?!".


    Obama 2012. Seriously America.

    October 5, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  15. The REAL Truth...

    The right is awfully quiet here today... way below their usual level of hateful trolling.
    The GOOD thing about the debate (and the job numbers) – regardless who "won" it – is that Mittens FINALLY gave us some concrete examples of his policy plans, in front of 70+ MILLION people. For anyone that has been following the campaigns, we also saw that once again, Willard FLIP-FLOPPED on those same policies – including his tax and Medicare plans. Now he cannot backtrack and flip-flop as he will be called out on those.
    As the POTUS stated, IT'S SIMPLE MATH Mr. Twit – if you reduce taxes, you NEED to increase revenue so it is NOT added to the deficit. INDEPENDENT studies have shown that EVERY deduction could be removed and would still not pay for the tax break. Removing deductions increases my net income, which in turn increases my taxable income and tax rate!! Hmmm.. I may end up PAYING MORE IN TAXES under Willard (even with the cut) than I do now.
    That's a REAL good way to ALIENATE every homeowner in the country !!

    October 5, 2012 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  16. suni

    Somehow unemployment will start showing below 8% right before election! People are losing jobs left, right, and center and yet below 8%? manipulated figures to make Obama look good.
    Romney is a successful business man and this is ‘not’ manipulated it is fact, He can put America back to work I can trust him 100%. For Democrats Obama is POPEOBAMA…he can take them all down to where sun never shines and yet they will sing praises...holy crap!
    POPEOBAMA has lied and failed in last 4 years and will trash America in next 4, People wake up – Romney 2012.

    October 5, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  17. shannon g

    This dude is so insufferable! How's that crow tasting, ummm like chicken!

    October 5, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  18. Dumbpolitics

    OK which Mitt do we have today? The one who doesn't like the 47% or the one who feels so bad for them. Maybe he should ask his friends at Bain to bring back some of the jobs from China. Then he would be able to show how bad he really feels for the 47% and try to fix the problem. Naw! that's not harvesting that would be planting a better future.

    October 5, 2012 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  19. Anonymous

    Obama talking tough after the debate, must have his Teleprompter back. ROMNEY/RYAN 2012

    October 5, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  20. lebanese american

    only in america does the jobless rate falls down and politicians cry foul

    October 5, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  21. stance porter

    Why not ever give positive feedback at times, yeah the unemployment remains too high but people are gettng hired, it doesn't matter if the job is a constructiuon worker or govenrment employee. (Former)Governer Romney seems like he doesnt care, just critizes every chance he gets and tap dance at every thing he stands for. I don't understand why anyone would want to vote for him other than the color of his opponent.

    October 5, 2012 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  22. Thomas

    Where was Mitt Romney economic and his econominc incite back in 07, 08 ?

    On July 4, 2007, the Romney campaign officially launched the "Mitt Mobile, A Five Brothers Bus", referring to Romney's five sons and his official campaign blog, Five Brothers. When asked why his sons were not fighting in Iraq, Romney replied that his sons were supporting America by riding from town to town in the "Five Brothers Bus," saying "One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected.Romney later apologized and said he misspoke and that there is no comparison to the sacrifice that military persons make.

    Campaign staff and advisors

    Beth Myers, campaign manager (worked for Karl Rove in the 1980s, and had long been a campaign advisor)
    Cofer Black, Vice Chairman of Blackwater Worldwide as Counter-Terrorism Policy Advisor
    Elizabeth Cheney, daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney, as senior foreign policy advisor

    Voting for Romney is like a vote for GW BUSH !

    October 5, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  23. FactCheck

    7.8! My, how unimpressive...basically back where we were when he took office.

    Except that instead of losing 750,000 jobs per month, we are actually adding jobs. Whoops, there's that funny FACT stuff getting in the way of a bagger talking point.

    October 5, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    “This is not what a real recovery looks like,” Romney wrote.
    And you're not what a real President looks or sounds like.
    What's your point?

    Obama 2012.

    October 5, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  25. beevee

    For this political chameleion Mitt Romney the 2012 election is a 'now or never' time. If he does not win this time his own party will throw him in the trash. That is why he behaved like a bully in the debate, uncivilized even brushing aside the moderator. During the debate he lied through his teeth (stinking) just about everything and pundits thought he did a good job? amazing. He knows the job numbers' report is a sing of his demise from politics. He will flip-flop relentlessly.

    October 5, 2012 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
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