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. kbone3

    Funny. Republicans are mad that we are doing better. Forward and in the right direction, vote Obama!

    October 5, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. Paul

    Hey Republicans Ronald Reagan had a identical percent of unemployment when he got re elected. You guys sound like Democrats back in the 1980s AHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAH PAYBACK SUCKS!!!!

    October 5, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. mindcrime

    Romney's right, it's not a boon, it's nothing to be proud about.

    .3% certainly isn't a "tumble" either, so CNN needs to get it together as well.

    October 5, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  4. Vote 2012

    Mitt Romney has a fork tongue/stick your tongue out Mitt so we can see. He studied business to learn how to fire people, cheat people out of their money to make make money for himself and his millionare/billionare buddies. Guy is a crook, snake oil salesman, a crooked used salesman, he will say anything to sell you that lemon car and get his commission.

    October 5, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. nygirl49

    Right after the debate...what a miracle 🙂 and people actually believe there is nothng amiss???? Not the smart ones who can count.

    October 5, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. Wade

    How can they be a boom when they are totally fake. There are in fact more people out of work today than when Obama took office.

    October 5, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. Cedar Rapids

    "nearly one in six living in poverty and 47 million people dependent on food stamps to feed themselves and their families"

    But according to you mitt its because they are lazy, irresponsible, and unthinking 'victims'

    October 5, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. Dynamic

    You know what's NOT ENOUGH? Romney's pathetic two years of tax returns – SHOW THE LAST TWELVE YEARS, COWARD!!!

    October 5, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  9. Jim

    Thanks to Mitt I've switched to the demoscrats. He always looks like he is constipated.

    October 5, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. Anthony

    Even with a bad debate, Obama still has run a better campaign than Romney. We can't afford 4 years of Romney period. Romney wants to cut the deficits and cut taxes at the same time. It is like a person wanting to lose weight but eating more ice cream. Republicans have been pushing tax cuts for 30 years. After 30 years of tax cuts, which have continued under Obama (in the form of the Bush tax cuts), the national debt has gone from under 1 trillion before Reagan to 16 trillion in 2012. Tax cuts do not cut the deficits or reduce the debt, no matter who is in power. This is especially true in a recession. Trying to cut the deficits with tax cuts when there are fewer taxpayers and greater government expenses (because the government is paying for more food stamps and unemployment benefits) violates the laws of mathematics.

    Ah, but Republicans will argue that it is the runaway spending under Obama that has caused the deficits. OK, so why is it that it will take more than 30 years to balance the budget under the Ryan budget? It is almost as if Ryan, who is the House Budget Committee chairman, does not know where the runaway spending is, so he can't just cut the runaway spending. Actually, Ryan knows where the runaway spending is. But because Romney needs the senior vote, Ryan has to keep his mouth shut before the election.

    October 5, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. bracey

    for the unemployment rate to TRULY BE 7.8% there would have to be over 800,000 NEW JOBS CREATED! This is nothing but a bold faced lie or if you want "ENRON Acdcounting" at the Labor Department. Anyone with a brain can tell you that adding 115,000 jobs a month is not going to reduce our unemployment rate and what about the people who have given up do they just disappear I dont think so? Also great timing Barack it is a shame the nation saw you bumble and stumble all night long Wednesday and these numbers reflect on your administration because the majority of thinking people KNOW YOUR NUMBERS ARE WRONG AND NOTHING BUT A WAY TO GET A COUPLE OF MORE VOTES!!! DISGRACEFUL

    October 5, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. DirtyHeat


    Obama is a pathological liar. Lies about what happened during the embasy attack, lied about cutting the defecit, lied about the "shovel ready jobs" lied about the cost of Obamacare, I could go on all day. I love how this is seen as progress when the jobs created STILL DOESNT KEEP PACE WITH POPULATION GROWTH!!!!

    October 5, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. john

    In August we gain 162,000 jobs and unemployment stays the same. In September we gain 114,000 jobs and unemployment goes down 0.5%? 114,000 is 0.5% of only 22.8 million. I think there are a LOT more than 22.8 million people working in this country even if we only count the legal ones. The ONLY way unemployment can go down 0.5% with only adding 114,000 jobs is if we stop counting people who are unemployed but no longer qualify for benefits. In other words, people who are even worse off than being unemployed and collecting benefits as they are now unemployed and NOT collecting benefits. This is progress?

    Don't believe me? Do the math yourself.

    October 5, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. allen

    What a shock, Obama gets creamed in the debate and the jobs number come out with a number that cannot be true. Would have never thought that!

    October 5, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. Brad

    We add 114Kjobs and the jobless rate drops 0.3% – yea right – funny how this happened right before the election. Even with the revised numbers from past months this doesn't add up. Unless, of course, that many people have simply given up looking for a job and have decided to become dependent on the government!

    October 5, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  16. k

    If you believe these jobs nos. you are an i d iot. The only way the no. drops the most in 29 years the month before the election is CORRUPTION.

    October 5, 2012 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  17. roberto

    His bringing job back, you don't even now how he feel not to have a job.... Obama 2012

    October 5, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. sharky

    The jobs number is NOT accurate people.

    Only 114K added in Sept and suddenly we have THAT sharp a drop? BS. Depo of Labor always aims low BEFORE the adjustment happens.

    In order to have that number of 7.8% be realistic we need 200K to 300K per month not less than 150K.

    Depo of Labor also said the Jobless Claims ROSE as well. The unemployment rate doesn't even account for the people that dropped out of the market.

    October 5, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. Dave

    We get good economic news and Republicans complain. They need to be reminded every day that it was their economic policies that destroyed the economy.

    October 5, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. jorge washinsen

    If the country has gotten better is is in spite of what Obama has done.If we had the money back on those green industries he wasted taxes on we could at least feed a few that are really in a bad time.From the looks of the young wasting money on a new ipad makes you wonder just how bad is anything. If you have to have an ipod to tell you where you are you are already beyond saving.

    October 5, 2012 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  21. jfk1971

    These numbers are as reliable as anything Obama says, which is to say that they are completely unreliable.

    143,000 jobs created in September but the jobless rate declines by 873,000??? Really. You have to be stupid, just stupid, to believe anything that comes out of these people.

    This administration lives by the motto "The End Justifies the Means". They are dirty, dirty people.

    October 5, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. Hope Dope

    the devil is in the detals....

    you must look in to the numbers and undertsand what factors and what business rules are used (like do we add in those people NO LONGER looking or not, part time workers?). Cautiion though: those no longer looking are ypically not added into the denominator:


    1000 people and 100 of them are not working and looking fr a job: =10% unemployed
    1000 people and 100 not working but 10 of them are no longer actively looking for a job, so only 90 are figured into the number of "no longer employed": 9% unemployed

    Don't be lulled into a false sense of security that things are getting better....the devil is in the details.

    October 5, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. Ind.


    We add 114Kjobs and the jobless rate drops 0.3% – yea right – funny how this happened right before the election. Even with the revised numbers from past months this doesn't add up. Unless, of course, that many people have simply given up looking for a job and have decided to become dependent on the government!
    You're absolutely correct.

    October 5, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. YouAreSheep

    Factcheck – another moron that listens to someone else. Household Survey people employed: +873,000...Part-time jobs for economic reasons: +582,000...difference....

    October 5, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  25. Ayala

    Who is being deceptive here with the new job numbers only a month before the election. 114,000 jobs would not reduce the unemployment below 8%. so what happened? The Bureau of Labor statistics decided there were fewer jobs now, so the unemployment rate was reduced. What about all those who have given up? I am not deceived!

    October 5, 2012 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
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