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.

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. Jack 63

    Can't wait for the truth in those numbers to come out. Most of the drop will probably be revealed that it was caused by alot of people that just gave up looking and got dropped like the report a couple of months ago. Truth is, you can talk about the 7.8% all you want, there are still 18 million out of work and 227 thousand of the federal work force getting ready to be unemployed unless congress pulls it's head out of its butt and funds them. Good luck with that one!

    October 5, 2012 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. Lenny Pincus

    Mitt the Snake, at the debate: "The place you put your money makes a pretty clear indication where your heart is!"

    Switzerland and the Caymans.

    And now his cheating at the debate is going viral.

    October 5, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. Roger

    I am so sick of Romney and Ryan I could just scream – from the both of them lying like there's no tomorrow in an attempt to take this country back to the middle ages is just mind boggling. No man or woman is perfect but President Obama is the best hope for the country right now. Let the republicans take the next 4 years, purge themselves of these tea party whack jobs and learn that we are all Americans not just the rich, the elite and old white men from the south!

    October 5, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  4. YouAreSheep

    Republican/democrat – SSDD. The UE number went down by adding 300k part-time workers. You sheep need to start doing analysis rather than reading headlines. Go to zerohedge, where your common man and not the media will open your eyes to the utter sham we have in washington and the markets.

    October 5, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  5. Rob

    Not sue how a Mitt can be for US jobs. He's the person who said let American Car companies go. Also I'm not saying he's a bad man.. but I'm not ready to fight Iran. He reminds me of my Last Commander & Chief when he sent me to Iraq looking for WMD's lost about 20 friends, and still no WMD. See I'm a soldier, I know we have bad guys who hate us, but its just a few, I do know they have one enemy who they all dislike which is Israel.

    Mitt is a business person who knows WAR creates jobs and big MONEY for Companies, SO I think he will let Israel attacked Iran, but doing that will cause all the Middle East to Turn against Isreal, which means US will have to backup Israel thousand will die, but you will have Jobs, Companies will have money, the rich will invest more and move fund to off shore accounts.

    October 5, 2012 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  6. jorge washinsen

    When did rich become such a dirty word? What is the goal our college graduates are setting for themselves? I hope to heck it is not to stay under daddies roof until they are 26 years old and smoke dope.

    October 5, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  7. California Gary

    The issue isn't really where the unemployment rate is at any particular point in time.......it's which direction is it trending. And it's pretty obvious that it is trending in the right direction. Why do the Republicans dismiss and do their best to talk down and question good news? It lessens whatever shred of credibility they may still be holding onto.

    October 5, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  8. truth hurts

    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.
    OK, so I am to believe that the BSL CALLED almost ONE MILLION households last month and then called the same almost ONE MILLION households this month and the rate dropped that much?

    Or are they claiming that three times as many people stopped looking for work than in the month before? Another completely made up number.

    SERIOUSLY????? Let me tell you the BLS just shot their credibility right to hell. Nobody in their right mind would believe these numbers. It is clear the BLS is cooking the numbers to give Obama talking points and get him re-elected . This country is sooo screwed when this stuff starts going on.

    October 5, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. FactCheck

    The UE number went down by adding 300k part-time workers.

    Holiday hiring doesn't begin until late October. Please get your Fox News talking points in order before you blather.

    October 5, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. obamaphone

    I will vote for Obama because he gave me my free obamaphone! I don't pay a cent for it! Now I get food stamps and a free cell phone! I'll never have to work again! VOTE OBAMA!

    October 5, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  11. Don't drink the koolaid!

    So, unemployment has risen so tremendously that it has now gone back down to where it was when Obama came into office and he feels as though this is something to brag about????


    October 5, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. Malory Archer



    Stock market doubled? Really? What world are you living in?


    karma is living in reality, someplace you've apparently never been. The Dow closed at 7,949 on January 20, 2009. At 12:30 today (Friday, October 4) the dow is at 13,632 – not quite double, but pretty darn close.

    October 5, 2012 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  13. Why Why Why

    Cheat at the debate...cheat the American people....pathetic

    October 5, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. us_1776

    Romney: The Man With Every Position


    October 5, 2012 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. singleweird

    season retail jobs go to college and highschool kids. you're a fool to think these numbers aren't a positive sign. QUICK EVERYONE SCRAMBLE TO FIND THE NEGATIVE IN LOWER UNEMPLOYMENT. give it a rest

    October 5, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  16. FactCheck

    I'm against gay marriage. Oh what is that, Hollywood will give me $16 million? I'm for gay marriage.
    I'm a tax and spend moderate who doesn't comprehend the basics of how a government works. Oh what it that, the Republican party will let me keep my accounts in the Caymans and Switzerland? I want to help America.

    October 5, 2012 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  17. breezy

    when romney gets elected its we are going to have 104% employment – because magic!

    October 5, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  18. bigtoe

    What is Romney supposed to say? Obama is doing a great job? He is running for president. He wants Obama to lose so he can win. Saying that Obama is doing well is not how he is going to win the election.

    October 5, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  19. jorge washinsen

    You have to admit we are deeper in debt than when Obama took office.We are living on the credit of our young and mortgaging their future to buy votes for the democrat party.De check will stop and somebody is going to have to turn our troops on the population as we have seen in the MIddle East.We are civilized until the credit runs out and only till then.We will then be a third world country.

    October 5, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  20. Jbenn

    When has 114,000 jobs a month been good......... Thats less than August and July......

    October 5, 2012 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. Elena

    Go on, support Obama. You are supporting the IDEA for United States to repeat the history of Russia. And THAT was so ugly that I just hope I won't live long enough to experience it here.

    October 5, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. JMaster

    Romney won the debate by lying....his only CONSISTENT quality! The direction of this unemployment rate matters more to the economy than his visions of a plutocracy.

    October 5, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  23. imsickofitall

    laughable and they will push this BS up until the election and then oops; jobs figures get revised down.

    October 5, 2012 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  24. FrankA

    Everyone says it takes so much time to recover from the 8 years Bush was in the White House. If Obama gets re-elected and the country is a bigger disaster, how many more years will it take?

    October 5, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  25. annebeth66

    What exactly is "dropped out of the labor force?" Are these people who are too lazy to look for work. Everywhere I go I see "help wanted" signs, so there are jobs available for those willing to work.

    October 5, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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