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. anonymous

    you will not see anyones head roll over these false numbers, The real ? is will the Dems and President own up to the real numbers that aren't being reported? This number will change in the next few weeks. After all we all seen that Obama fell flat on his face has no plans or no idea on how to run the economy. But magically a .3 % drop in 1 month wow seems only to good to be true to help obama after such a horrible night and now amazingly the limelight is off the obama teams back! lol get real!

    October 5, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. 4sanity

    Heh, Rep. Boehner, when you took control of Congress 2 years ago, you promised us "Jobs, jobs, jobs!" Well where are they ?

    Oh yeah, Republicans don't believe government can create jobs. Well you've certainly have a wonderful yardstick by which to measure your "success." Adding you and 241 more to the unemployment line is certainly something I could live.

    October 5, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. jorge washinsen

    People make the first mistake when applying for a job by asking what are the benefits/First get the job and make your self indispensible and then ask for a raise.If you can not make a business man money he will not keep you anyhow.Only government keeps dead weight around when they don't produce.Speaking of dead weight.An election is coming up and a President is the most useless part of a Democracy if you pick your Congress correctly you win..Backbone is necessary.

    October 5, 2012 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  4. GTB

    So after nearly 4 years of stimuluses, QE, QE2, QE3, cash for clunkers, tax holidays, Solyndra (et al), and all that time wasted on Obamacare (still disliked by a majortiy of Americans) while controlling Congress–, we're exactly where we started when Obama took office.

    Definitive proof that the man has done absolutely nothing, from day one, to improve the economy.

    October 5, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. EJ

    Well, well, Obama is blamed for every negative thing that happens, I wonder if he will be blamed for this.....

    October 5, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  6. Funny

    After over 10-years of the modified way they count unemployment people still don't get it.

    No wonder we voted for Bush twice...we the people are morons.

    October 5, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    America has never had a multiple personality candidate before. And as humorous as that is, it becomes even more humorous when you factor in that apparently GOPers themselves aren't too concerned over what Mitt Romney may or may not stand for on any given day. I personally can't understand how GOPers can come to the conclusion that Mitt Romney stands for them when in fact Mitt Romney fully admits he stands for nothing each time he opens his mouth and utters his 180 degree turnarounds day after day. Guess as long as you tell them what they want to hear, they don't care that when he actually governs he will in all likelihood throw them under the bus right along with all those 47%ers he know realizes he actually does need to vote for him, and is therefore willing to once again pull a 180 degree out of the thin air but telling us how "completely wrong" he was to "dis" us.

    Yeah. Old Mitt "won" the debate alright. In his dreams.
    Excellent post Lynda/Minnesota.
    Still laughing at the "America has never had a multiple personality candidate before" line! As fot the rest, truthful and insightful.

    October 5, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  8. T

    Obozo's job's number dip slightly (which is suspect just before an election) and he claims progress? What about the prior 40+ months of jobs reports? If the last report's a "win", then his record is approximately 1 – 43. I wouldn't be jumping up and down about that.

    October 5, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  9. CiSono

    President Obama inherited a monumental mess when he took Office. To see the economy turning in the right direction is a tremendous accomplishment!!! Instead of losing jobs at 800,000 a month, we are now adding jobs at that number and it is 40 months of job growth. Robme is full of empty promises and smoke and mirror numbers. He does not care about the average American. Those who would be duped by the lying missives directed at President Obama deserve this flip-flopping wannabe! I hope you and your Repugnantcan party will be happy together in "LiarLand". If you can be so easily duped by one debate that Robme is your man, perhaps you should check your "mental health"!!!!!!!!!!!!11

    October 5, 2012 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  10. allison wiggins

    NPR is reporting this morning that many suspect that the jobless rate has been massaged by the administration. They say the the news of the jobless rate change is just too much of a coincidence regarding the president's poor performance in the debate.

    October 5, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    These statistics are very skewed. We already know, for there to be real growth consistent with the growth of our population, then there must be 150,000 jobs added to lower unemployment rate... So why the drop? It's very simple, people have given up hope and quit looking for jobs. CNN needs to do a better job of reporting truth and not supporting their political candidate!

    October 5, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  12. Boytjie

    "This is not what a real recovery looks like," Romney wrote.
    One has to wonder what he will say tomorrow? Maybe by then he will say we are in a depression, He flip-flops about everything

    October 5, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  13. NotJustSeasonalJobs

    "The September gains were led by the health care industry, which added 44,000 jobs - the most since February. Transportation and warehousing also showed large gains. The revisions showed that governments actually added 63,000 jobs in July and August, compared with earlier estimates that showed losses." These are hardly seasonal jobs!

    October 5, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  14. Sara

    Anyone but Mitt Romney for president!!! Mitt would do away with 47% of the country. After 3 weeks of supporting his comment, now he wants to take it back. This guy is unbelievable!!! Who cares Mitt, you showed us your true colors and how far out of reach you are with us 47%!!!!

    October 5, 2012 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. Another ThinkBeforeYouRead Story

    And next month folks the unemployment rate will be 5.3%! That is the number Obama said the unemployment rate would be if his trillion dollar stimulus was passed!

    So the numbers are down to levels of 2008. It's kind of like saying the last four years never really happened. Boy if that were true!

    But CNN, some of us have been well informed and knew of this number coming around this time frame since Decembe 2012, when Rush Limbaugh proclaimed it. Don't doubt him!

    October 5, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  16. Margo

    Romney is a flip flopping liar, he acts like he can control so much, like he is the saviour who can make things all better in January when we all know difffernt. He does not have a clue, and he is not fit to be the President of the United States. He is so out of touch with every day people and now he made a mistake with his 47% remark, what other mistakes has he made, you know Obama has been dealing day-by-day with the issues and why Romney thinks it is so easy to turn things around is only showing how little he really knows. Getting things back on track take time, especially when Obama walked into a repub mess, and we want another one...what's his solution to unemployment...start a war with Iran and move hundreds of thousands of troops out of the states so jobs are available...and then call himself a success. He is a joke and he makes sure his money is out of this country...what is that telling you about him.

    October 5, 2012 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. What?

    His policies are working? I thought he couldn't pass his policies because of obstructionist Republicans.
    150K jobs are needed to keep up with population growth. 114K were added in Septmeber. The rate drops 0.3%
    7.8% unemployment neutralizes an unemployment-based line of attack?

    October 5, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  18. malibu123

    7.8%???? That does it, I'm voting for Bammy.

    October 5, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Funny

    The enonomy is better because 700,000 people stopped looking for work.

    By that logic we shoudl stop counting them after 3-months of unemployment then we could claim a 4% rate and it would great news.

    October 5, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. LouD

    How can the unemployment rate drop if there were only 114,000 jobs created? The jobs needed to be created every month to sustain just the increase in population, according to the CBO, is 125,000 per month. ( The New York Times puts the number at 150,000). So if the jobs created in one month doesn't even meet the jobs necessary to cover the average growth in population, how would 114,000 jobs created decrease the unemplyment rate overall? The math doesn't add up.

    October 5, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  21. shuman

    Celebrating an artificial unemployment figure that vastly understates the dire state of our true jobs and employment picture? Interesting level of awareness among Democrats.

    Former GE CEO Jack Welch got it right in his tween this morning...""Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can't debate so change numbers,"

    October 5, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  22. capnmike

    SURE it's"not enough" for "MITT, the Outsourcer"...wotinell is HE complaining about? He just sends our jobs to China anyway...and hides his millions offshore so he can avoid taxes...

    October 5, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  23. CB

    Romney says not enough....really...what a surprise.

    October 5, 2012 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  24. Ind.

    The Hussein Obama spin machine is on high speed now.

    October 5, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  25. Sara

    Romeny go back to rich lifestyle and lets us 47% alone. We dont want you as our president!!!!

    October 5, 2012 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
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