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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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

"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. jon

    Republicans are just all liars. Listen to the "fair and balanced" Fox News reporters. The surprise in that sentence is that Fox News HAS reporters?

    October 5, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  2. Patrick

    Romney is absolutely coreect. It is far from being enough. Far.

    October 5, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  3. David Riker

    As usual, what is good news for America is bad news for the Republicans. They are running dog troublemakers..

    October 5, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  4. Jeetu

    Romney will say it is not enough because it does not support his hypothesis and the lies he has been telling all the time, including at the debate. The truth is that any creation of jobs and reduction in unempoyment is good news. At least we are making some progress, slow and steady. We would like to increase this rate and we can do this if the republicans in the Congress and the others would let us make some investments for the future to create jobs at a faster pace.

    Thus, don't trsut Romney and vote for Obama in November elections. Also, vote democratic to elect those members to the House and the Senate who would continue this trend to create more jpbs rather than lose jobs hrough tax reductions for the rich and unemployment for the poor done by the republicans throughout their history.

    October 5, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  5. Marley

    According to GOP Math: 23M are unemployed

    That means, 28M were unemployed when Obama took office because Obama has create almost 5M jobs now.

    As well, 23M is not the correct figure. 12.5M are unemployed. 2.5M are under-employed. So how do the GOP get to 23M? They include folks who are PART-TIME workers.

    Bill Clinton was right: the GOP do not know arithmetic.

    October 5, 2012 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  6. maratechfan

    When unemployment drops 0.3, on a small gain of 114,000 new jobs, what it show is that a large number of people stopped looking for jobs.

    October 5, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  7. dajvet

    Obama promised to get unemployment below 8%. He has. Romney doesn't remember promises, or what he says, or where he's at. We already have a working man in the oval office. Let's keep him there. And send some working folks to Congress to help him get things DONE!!!

    October 5, 2012 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  8. jk in MN

    Of course Mr flip-flop would say this. This from a man who openly embraced outsourcing jobs while at Bain Capital. Hypocrite!!!!!!!

    October 5, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  9. Sam

    This number DOES NOT reflect people who are under employed adn people who have given up looking for jobs....So this is NOT a true indication of growth(if you want to call it growth)

    October 5, 2012 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  10. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer


    When Democrats were in charge from 2009 to 2010, the American Jobs Act not supported by a single Republican was passed. The Affordable Care Act not supported by a single Republican was passed. Financial Reform supported by a few Republicans who were pressured to support the bill was passed. The rescue of our auto industry, not supported by a single Republican was passed. Furthermore, before the GOT's take over of the House in 2010, the economy was adding 3,4,5 hundred thousand jobs a month. When the GOT took control of the House, job growth dramatically dropped to 100 thousand to under a hundred thousand jobs per month. Please get your facts straight.

    Obama/Biden 2012 by a LANDSLIDE.

    October 5, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. sirgolfalot

    I think we all need to get used to a new "standard" in unemployment....gone are the days of 5% or less. Companies have figured out how to do more with less. Also...what is going to happen to unemployment if Romney is elected and he cuts government spending, which includes a whole host of government programs that employee a lot of people?

    October 5, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. Getoverit

    Yay! Spike the ball! Yay!

    October 5, 2012 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. Angela

    Praise God. Keep praying for our nation. But if you are wishing America fails don't bother. Our God is awesome. He sees things we don't see. He sees what goes on behind closed doors. He's at the "secret" meetings....

    October 5, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. mb

    If Romney gets elected, he will do all he can to create low wage jobs and destroy unions. He wants 2 classes, the rich and the poor. He will lie his a?? Off like he did in the debate or flip flop whenever necessary to try to get elected. He's a clown with a nose that keeps growing.

    October 5, 2012 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. User-301

    Lets Remember, Romney is running his campaign of the used cars Salesman guide to success. Page 2. clearly states that when the competing auto dealership achieves a small victory it is your job to let the customer know that the achievement is not enough and you can do better. Whats amazing about Gov. Flipper is that he can do better at everything and that's without a plan. I guess if he actually had a plan he could be the savior of the world. Right now, he's noting more than a 1970's Used car Salesman. That's a real fact.

    October 5, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  16. Michael

    "Never let your ego get so close to your position that when your position goes, you ego goes with it"

    Colin Powell

    The only guy who should be running this country. This forum is filled with folks from both sides who have this position and thought process.

    October 5, 2012 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  17. Brian

    Imagine if Obama didnt have his jobs bill blocked by the GOP. Our unemployment rate would be below 7% right now. Even better imagine if Obama would have followed Clinton's economy instead of Bush's.

    October 5, 2012 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  18. Dan

    Obama came into office and we were losing 800,000 jobs per month. In under 10 months, Obama stopped the plane from diving. Unemployment was at 10 percent.

    Thanks to Obama we have seen unemployment fall 22% since the economy hit bottom. Best of all, this isn't a bubble economy.

    This is an economy built to last, just like American built products.

    Thank you President Obama for believing in the American auto industry.
    Thank you President Obama for believing in American businesses and American workers.
    Thank you President Obama for convincing the Fed to buy mortgages, resulting in the lowest rates since the 60's. This is boosting the housing industry and putting Americans.
    Thank you President Obama for believing in T.Boone Pickens idea of using cleaner natural gas. It has resulted in thousands of jobs, lower energy prices, and by the end of 2020 natural gas is projected to be America's number 1 export.

    An American economy built by working with American businesses and American workers.
    There is a hot place in he** waiting for those who put their money in foreign countries and foreign banks.
    God Bless America

    October 5, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. mary

    Romney was hoping for bad news on the economy and unfortunately for him, we the people are hoping for good news and we are happy. The economy is slowly turning around and it will take time – Romney needs to remember at one time he said "I wish the president had succeded & the economy is getting better", so why not be happy, except we all know he was lying as always. Romney keeps wishing worse on the people for his personal gain. This man is unbelievable & selfish.

    October 5, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  20. Captain

    This is what the last GOP WH did to NYC, America and the World...
    see youtube - CIA Asset Susan Lindauer Can Now Speak 10 years after 9-11. (More on Veterans Today site)
    Yeah, the bush gang did it. Lied about everything.

    Mitt is another puppet for Senior and Cheney, as were Junior, actor Regan, and Ford.

    October 5, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  21. Malory Archer


    huh? Are you democrats just making things up? Republicans blocked what? Obama had 2 years where Democrats were in charge – how do you explain that? Please people.


    I'll expain it: It never happened. The dems NEVER had a 60-seat filibuster proof majority in the Senate. norm coleman contested his defeat and held up Senator Franken's seating until after Senator Kennedy had left the senate due to failing health. The rethugliban filibustered EVERYTHING – including THEIR OWN initiatives if President Obama was for them! Now that you've been properly schooled, please try to keep up with the lessons.

    October 5, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  22. Brian

    Unemployment numbers do not accurately reflect the health of the economy. What is the average wage for these new jobs? How much were these people making in their prior jobs? What is the median age of these people? The reality is that millions of high-paying jobs have been lost and are being replaced by low-paying jobs. As an Independent, I watched the debates without a partisan "lens," which allowed me to pick up on something that Romney stated – something of great importance when talking about jobs. He said that he can help create HIGH PAYING jobs, which points to the fact that he understands that millions of Americans are now under-employed. This affects not only individuals, but also tax revenue. I plan to vote a split ticket next month, but nothing in the new jobs report does anything to incline me to vote for President Obama. He's had four years to address our economic woes, but doesn't really even seem to understand business or simple economics. It's unfortunate, but true – I was rooting for him when he was elected, but he's failed to achieve what he promised to deliver in his first term.

    October 5, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. simp

    These President Obama haters are pathetic. Now this stupid idiot Welch is saying the job numbers and unemployment rate have been fixed, LMAO Why in the hell would anybody want a republician to be charge of anything let alone the country.

    October 5, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. Tigrr

    This is what you get with the GOP crowd --
    see youtube -– CIA Asset Susan Lindauer Can Now Speak 10 years after 9-11.
    More on Veterans Today site. Bush gandg lied about everything. Conned America big time.

    October 5, 2012 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  25. nmmell08

    A lot of republicans say the numbers are cooked...that or a lot of revisions have been made that have the unemployment number dropping because we actually added more jobs than we thought we did. This is huge for Obama, and takes a lot of steam out a "strong" debate from Romney. Romney had at least 25 whoppers of lies in the debate, death panels anyone? Obama had one fairy money thing with the money from wars, jobs created numbers that aren't official yet but actually are close to the truth, and the 5 trillion tax cut which is correct until we reduce deductions.

    October 5, 2012 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42