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. charles bowen

    Straight from Rove via. Romney don't look for truth in this den of Liars.....Charles Bowen Solomon Stone

    October 5, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  2. serdich

    Tomorrow Romney will say he was wrong, speaking off the cuff and this is not elegantly states..classic Romney.

    October 5, 2012 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  3. rla

    Take a look at portalseven and look at the U6 number - real unemployment did not change from 14.7% and the "Offical number" falls??? You really have to be from Chicaho to fall for this!

    October 5, 2012 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  4. Yonni

    Mitt has been saying this for the last four year and his intention is obvious, never a single day he offer his help to lift the country up but he was watching everything to fail apart and harvest the benefit to become the President. It is sad that democrats are ready to fold at the moment of hard time. Couldn’t stand for Clinton couldn’t stand for Obama, but when the times are good all are number one to rip the benefit. Sad and pathetic spineless people. How can you accept the fact that the guy lied throughout the debate and you accept the result from pundit that he won? How he won tell me how because he lied flat out and is that a legacy you want pass for your children and grand children, winning by lying? don't fold now the possibility of Mitt presidency should scared you.

    October 5, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  5. Bill

    The bottom line is that, no matter how much you may believe Romney could have guided America to a better recovery the last four years, he wouldn't have for the simple reason he would have let GM collapse. That alone would have cost the economy close to a million jobs, which would have created a much bigger hole for our economy to dig out of. And that's not even taking into consideration the extra debt he would have tacked on with his trillions of dollars in tax cuts that largely benefit the rich.

    October 5, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  6. ExRepublican

    Romney you the biggest liar hit politics history.
    Obama is doing a better then your republican friends in congress.
    Keep up the good work Obama we got your back.
    4 more years Obama.

    October 5, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  7. Dave

    "and we’ve lost over 600,000 manufacturing jobs since President Obama took office.”...funny words coming from a man who made it his job and main mission (and many millions) of sending American jobs overseas. How many million did he make with Bain?

    October 5, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. doncampbell101

    23 million minus 142,000 a HORRIBLE result....the fake unemployment rate that does not account for those who have left the job market has and is being used to mislead the American public.

    October 5, 2012 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. Rob - NYC

    New Attack Line – "Unemployment rate at 7.8%, that's not good enough, the president must go". Romney is scrambling for attacks that are apparently NOT sticking to the president. Ok, you got the first debate, I'll give you that, I'll admit i was disappointed with him in that he should've crushed you by now. But there are 2 more debates and I can assure you, you'll no longer have it easy. Oh by the way, the 47%, it's too late. Now all of a sudden you want to apologize? It took you 2 wks to do it? When I have an argument with my wife and I'm wrong about saying something, I'll apologize for it within hours. IT TOOK YOU 2 WKS TO RESPOND?????!!!!!!! Why? because you know you got away with it in the 1st debate and now it seems you might get stabbed with it in the 2nd debate???? Man, just retire, live your life in the Cayman Islands or Mexico and have another 3 wives.

    October 5, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. Dave

    ..not enough? Romney lives in his own private planet. The damage the Republicants and Dumbya inflicted on the economy has been turned around. Of course, it's slow rebuilding jobs sent to China by Romney and others. With US businesses sitting on 4 Trillion $ of investment money hoping that Robmey will give them a free ride of some sort, it will stay slow until after Obama wins re-election.

    October 5, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  11. tigerakabj

    So long Romney. Obama gave you the debate win (battle) so that you will lose the war.

    Obama/Biden 2012

    October 5, 2012 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  12. Lynda/Minnesota

    Having watched Romney lie through his teeth during his "winning" debate performance, this man offers nothing but empty words. Why should today be any different than the past year for Mitt Romney and his Etch a Sketch campaign strategy of Lie First, Lie Often?

    October 5, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  13. bob_lawbla

    Let the lame arguments for Owebama "The Savior" begin.

    October 5, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  14. Judy Florida

    Liar, liar pants on fire!
    Firing Big Bird. At least Big Bird has integrity and knows better than to lie to the American people!
    He stands for nothing, he doesn't even have the guts to stand up to Rush L who is a drug user/dealer from Florida
    Bush on steroids or 3.0! .

    His record from Massachusette:
    •Jobs: 47th out of 50 states in job creation
    •Taxes and fees: Increased by $750 million per year
    •Long-term debt: Increased more than $2.6 billion

    October 5, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |

    For the Obama haters if it was at 1% that would not be good enough! The President has done an incredible job in the last 4 years pulling us out of the Repubtea mess, moving this country forward with them blocking as much as they can. Vote the Repteaparty out! They don't give a damn about this country!

    October 5, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  16. ExRepublican

    Romney you would say anything.
    Romney you not to be trusted.
    Romney dont like 47% of american.

    October 5, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  17. lyn

    Romney you might win the first debate, BUT we the people who you Romney class as 47% VICTIMS we are going to move FORWARD with our President Obama today is a great day with the unemployment news. SO ROMNEY KEEP ON SPREADING YOUR LIES, HATE. --- We are moving FORWARD NOT BACKWARD. God bless our PRESIDENT OBAMA.

    October 5, 2012 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  18. IamAmazed

    US added 28,000 less jobs in Sept than Aug. Current unemployment rate is actually a decline.

    October 5, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  19. Jim

    What would you expect him to say this close to the election? He's just like the rest of his Party. When something good happens, it's not enough, when something bad happens, it's the President's fault. What a piece of work.

    October 5, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  20. American People

    Willard – We want to see your tax returns for the last 20 years. We also want to see your PLAN to reduced unemployment. Oh I know....It's tax cuts for the rich to create jobs in India and China. Oh please Willard. Give it a rest. You're done.

    October 5, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. Lindsey

    Hey Mitt. What's the matter? Lose one of your tiresome talking points?

    Why not tell people how two weeks ago you defended your statement about 47% of Americans being "victims" and government moochers before you decided to say you were "completely wrong about that" today? Why not explain to people your $5 trillion tax cut again which will benefit m/billionaires, which you've been saying you'd do for a year now...up until Wednesday night, that is.

    Flip flop flip flop. Poor Mitt. He has more flipflops than a beach stand in Miami.

    October 5, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  22. Marcia Greenwood, IN

    Romney's only hope is a bad economy-he has no other reason for running So he is praying to his imaginary planet god for a BAD US economy. He has lied and fip flopped so much he has no creditibility

    October 5, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  23. Jill

    I am tired already of Romney! He is about power and is trying to make it appear that he cares for people - and the state of unemployment. I suspect he'd be doing a happy dance if the #'s were the reverse....

    October 5, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  24. BLKMANinAmerica

    Yea well robo-Robney............what did you and your RNC fools do to help the situation?

    October 5, 2012 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. CSM.J D

    Republican Spin in 5,4,3,2,1

    October 5, 2012 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
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