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. Hadenuffyet

    There are jobs coop , question is , are you qualified and/or are you willing to relocate.

    October 5, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. Bill the Cat

    It's a bunch of part time (read no benefits) jobs for mainly those who have less than a high school diploma. College grads are still just as unable to find full time jobs with salaries that will allow them to repay their student loans.

    October 5, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  3. Tiffany

    I thought Romney lying his face off at the debate was bad, but the GOP supporters lying about this jobs number is soooooo low! You can't handle the truth so you call it a lie! Pretty shameful, GOP.

    October 5, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  4. DirtyHeat

    These #'s are fixed so much it comical. So the labor department does a survey and concludes that 114,000 jobs are added. The data for the unemployment rate however is taken from a separate survey that claims 873,000 jobs were created. Quite the disparity.

    October 5, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  5. Realist

    The Labor Department, based on a broad survey of employers, said 114,000 jobs were added in September.
    But the unemployment rate itself is based on a separate "household survey," which showed a whopping 873,000 new jobs in September.
    "This must be an anomaly," former Congressional Budget Office director Doug Holtz-Eakin said in a snap analysis of the numbers. "It is out of line with any of the other data.."
    Holtz-Eakin noted the household survey is smaller, suggesting it is not as reliable. He called estimate of 873,000 new jobs "implausible."
    Liberal economist Dean Baker, with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, called the September rate drop "almost certainly a statistical fluke."

    October 5, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. zack

    I am sure Mr. Obama can take this country out of the hole that the republicans put it in... and now we start seeing it with the job reports, the stork markets and the house sales. Vote for President Obama in November...

    October 5, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. jorge washinsen

    Nothing will improve until "Made in China" is erased from our supply chain.It seems most people do not know where computers were invented.Most still think Algore invented the enternet.

    October 5, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. macinblack1970

    AGREED 100% Steve Tall and Roger!

    Why anyone in the GOP would think that someone forgets the disaster they created is beyond me! Oh yeah, there's the people th actually turned out to vote for McCain for some reason. The reason people on the left have reason to believe most on the right are either racist or just trying desperately to cling to the old mantra REPUBS are business friendly, if you have ALOT of stocks in Pharma companies or whatever then that's the party you should vote for, same old same old. Why not stay with the way things worked before Bush Jr. came in? everything was fine then! VOTE CONGRESS OUT! NEW CONGRESS IN! Thank you bye bye!

    October 5, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  9. Phranque

    People believe anything! - Unemployment down? - how coincidental this is right after Obama fulbbed the debate. The numbers are higher becasue it doesn't include those that can't get unemployment and does include part time jobs they are lying with statistics -

    October 5, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. stevegee

    Why shouldn't we believe Obama's job numbers, the drop in unemployment is just another "spontaneous event."

    October 5, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. Drinkthekoolaid

    This number is nothing to brag about for those out of work. It doesn't take into account those who've lost jobs and dropped out of the employment market, such as many liberals enjoying their free phones and using splitters to share a single Comcast cable subscription. Four more years of this approach for our country, and we'll be looking like Greece.

    October 5, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. Bobby in SC

    When the President took office he himself said he inherited "The worst economy since the great depression".Today's number is the same number it was the day he took office.So thank you Mr President for getting us back to the worst economy since the great drepression!

    October 5, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. Vote 2012

    IIt is what it is, seasonal, temporary, part time it's still a job stupid!

    October 5, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  14. Joey

    OMG will republicans ever stop their dumb conspiracy theories???? Everyone knows the Job numbers are posted the first week after the previous month and there are revised numbers posted all the time! It is so unfortunate that some of you really believe that the President can tilt the figures in such a way to reflect a small drop. Don't you think that if held such sway that perhaps he would go for something like 6%? Jeez, grow up and get informed! It sickens me to read comments that are baseless and misinformed. And you wonder why you can't get a JOB? Try getting an education and pick up micro and macro economics as subjects while you are at it. Also, perhaps a course or two on civics and government might be beneficial.

    October 5, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  15. Gas prices

    Regular unleaded when Obama took office... $1.89
    Regular unleaded price now... $3.65

    This doesn't just hurt us at the pump. This increases prices on everything.

    He's too busy giving our tax money as gov't handouts to all the people who dont want to work and sit at home, and then turns around and makes us, the working class, pay more for everything across the board. Get this guy OUT! He FAILED! Romney is a clear better choice as we all saw 2 nights ago in the debate. ROMNEY 2012!!!

    October 5, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  16. Diana Arbelaez

    GO OBAMA!!! Everybody has blue days like on his first debate, however, his direction, vision, administration and work for the country slowly but surely, shows and it will stay that way because Obama will be there Four More Years!

    October 5, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. superbole

    Their political leaders lie. Their lead candidates lie. Half of Mr Romney's debate was based on outright falsehood. What is happening to the GOP? Why do they feel that they have to lie to prove a point?

    October 5, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. Drinkthekoolaid

    This number is nothing to brag about for those out of work. It doesn't take into account those who've lost jobs and dropped out of the employment market, such as many of you enjoying their free Obama phones and using splitters to share a single Comcast cable subscription. Four more years of this approach for our country, and we'll be looking like Greece.

    October 5, 2012 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. Gary

    Willard the jobs you shipped to China are finally come back to America.

    October 5, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. Jackson


    obama has cooked the numbers on all jobs reports since in office. so aere there any of you obama fools who would like to put some money on this jobs report being revised up just like the other 46. come on fools lets make a bet!


    What a crock!

    1) If they were cooked, why would they have been above 8% for four years? There is zero logic in that.

    2) How can you possibly prove they are cooked? How would you determine the winner of your bet?

    You're just another blowhard, plain and simple.

    October 5, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. Ind.

    IF the liberals want to argue this is good news then shouldn't they give credit to Congress considering they've blamed them for this to begin with?

    The word hypocrites and liars apply here to the democrats.

    October 5, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  22. Wilson

    I see the kitchen is all spun up for cooking numbers for the election.

    October 5, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  23. a_c99

    if every American had a job the repubs would still say it wasn't good enough.

    October 5, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. Lisa P


    So sad.. Republicans can't find one SOLID leg to stand on when finding this to criticize The President of these United States, Barack Obama, now they loose another leg (jobs). It takes time to recover from 8 years of Republican demise and the record is showing it is working with The President of these United States, Barack Obama in office. Why change that... oh because he is BLACK or because they are not in charge..hmmm. Democrates think of ALL people, black, white, hispanic, asian, indiana..... All people make up the upper class, middle class and lower class (if we have to put a class on us). So people look at the record don't listen to the rhetoric. Know the game and the people playing it..
    October 5, 2012 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm
    Don't forget the style aspects - clearly Republicans think that only self-centered, aggressive, rude, posturing alpha males are "fit" to be President, even if their poorly-thought out positions change from hour to hour and their main rhetorical strength consists of the ability to endlessly repeat the same lies long after they've been proved to be lies. And then there are the rest of us, who prefer a beta-real human being and thinker to an empty, easily manipulated "leader." I imagine that Barack Obama would be anathema to puppet masters like Grover Norquist and Karl Rove on that grounds alone, before we even get to the vast policy differences - how dare a figurehead meant only to fool the crowd actually presume to think! The real thinkers of the Republican Party just need a Judas goat to lead the American people to the slaughter, and Mitt Romney is clearly their man for the job.

    President Obama not only lacks that tinpot dictator/demagogue/authoritarian leader polish, his message has always been that the American people must think and do themselves if they want their America to flourish and remain free. Democracy cannot be outsourced.

    October 5, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. southexas

    Don't care if Mitt the GOP and his clowns don't like or want to accept these job numbers. It is what it is and move on fools.

    October 5, 2012 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
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