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. Sifleut

    If you hung Mittens and the GOP with a new rope, they'd still kick!

    October 5, 2012 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. Jean Sillat

    It is crazy to see how many of you guys are criticizing part time jobs as they are meaningless. Do you know how many people at this very moment who would love to have a part time job. Part-time jobs are better than nothing, and that is exactly what Rob-mey is proposing "NOTHING". My advice to all Reps is PLEASE GET OUT OF THE WAY AND LET THE AMERICA PEOPLE ENJOY SOME WELL DESERVED GOOD NEWS.

    October 5, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. Jim

    Something isnt right on these numbers, Last night they reported 113,000 jobs created and the rate went to 8.3% unemployed now they come out 12 hours later and only 1,000 mor jobs added but the rate drops .4, doesnt add up. Now if you factor in all the people that stopped looking and fell off of unemployment and went on disability instead the rate is over 11%. Im sure sometime about Nov 7 a revised report will come out. and when you go from fulltime employment to part time employmet should that still count in the jobs numbers? very misleading

    October 5, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Mack

    Sorry Mitt, we know that you need the US to fail so that you have a chance to get elected. I think Big Bird just flipped you the bird lol

    October 5, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. sally

    Fools here that think the cooked rate is good. From the BLS, real unemployment remained the same at 14.7% (U6). The pace of new jobs slowed in September. Anyone with half a brain sees the numbers don't make sense.

    October 5, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. Dan5404

    Not a real Romney. The real Romney is the one that has no use for 47% of the country because they don't fit in with his elitist crowd. Or the one that has been preaching a 20% across the board tax cut costing 4,8 trillion dollars, then denying it during the debate. He thinks monthly progress by Obama without any help from the Republicans on anything is worse than George Bush's unfunded massive debt and 750,000 a month job loss. That's the real Mitt Romney..the one that despises the unemployment rate going down quite a bit below 8%, so he now accuses the agency doing the reports is crooked. That's the real Romney,,,not real at all.

    October 5, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  7. Bill

    "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". Forget the unemployed number. This kind of sums it up doesn't it?
    There is little good news here.

    October 5, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  8. hazen

    Check a real news site and you wil see that even liberal economists are calling the unempolyment numbers a fluke at best while most are saying the numbers just don't add up to the 7.8 that Obama is claiming. Just because he's president doesn't mean he can make up his own numbers, even for the noble purpose of saving him from being a Jimmy Carter.

    October 5, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. Tracy

    I dare say that, anyone who has any common sense whatsover, does not believe this number is anything close to real. It's what's called an, "October Surprise." But in all reality, it's an attempt from a desperately failed president to hold on to his job. The sad part is, a lot of people will blindly fall in line and believe such a profoundly implausible statistic.

    October 5, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. Ind.


    Hey Romney, you may claim the job numbers aren't real, but you are not a real candidate, so what does it matter?


    Hussein Obama isn't a real president either so what's your pathetic point?

    October 5, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  11. Jeff from Newton

    You know what's not enough, Mitt – how you left my state of MA when you left office. Your governorship left MA down to 47th in the nation in job creation. You left with household income declining in the state. You cut education deeper than anywhere else in the country. You increased taxes on businesses during your term.

    Mitt Romney was a disaster as governor. it's ludicrous that he would even be considered for president.

    October 5, 2012 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. Lynda Jones-Owings

    Rom-ney, lets talk about the jobs you shipped over seas and Bain Capital, lets talk about your offshore accounts and your tax returns, lets talk about your medicare plan and your education plan. Oh,what plan; he doesn't have one.

    Mr. President is doing fine without all your garbage and hateration.

    October 5, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    When your talking numbers this high I don't know how they can have any real degree of accuracy. How can they tell the "participation rate" is 63% as opposed to 65% Even political polls have a 4-5 percent degree of error.

    October 5, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. Peter Wolfe

    More than any election that this particular one is about "value" of your fellow americans. Do you believe in a safety net for the poor, elderly and or disabled americans? Then, you would vote Barack Obama but if not Mitt Romney is your man. Jobs are nothing without aiding your fellow countrymen and deserting them to die. A last note is that I'm blind and couldn't find a job even before the recessions with 770% unemployment and chronic limitations and discrimination that the disabled are in the same predictament anyways.

    October 5, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  15. k rodolfo

    For Mitty, high unemployment, GOOD!
    For the 98%, lower unemployment, GOOD!

    October 5, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  16. Mike Searcy

    If people would take the time to actually read reports instead of living off of sound bites and bits of information, the world would be a better place. The U-6 is basically unchanged, the participation rate (which is at a 30 yr old) is basically unchanged. The driver of the drop is people were unemployed and want full time work only getting part time jobs. Stop saying this is a good sign that the economy is back or proof that Obama's policies are working. it's simply not true just based on this report.

    October 5, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  17. AnnRomney

    Honey, the donors form the 47% dinner called; they want their $50k per plate back. I'll crack a piggy bank.

    October 5, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  18. John

    Mr Romney is so out of touch, does he not realize that improvements in technology turned what once were full time jobs into part time jobs? the fact of the matter is that Mr. Romney and his ilk are 20th century leaders and presidendt obama is 21st century. Of course there are still too many people looking for jobs, but I trust the current president to do something about it not just say he will create (as Mr. Romney has) 12 million new jobs and not say how they will be created.

    October 5, 2012 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  19. Tracy

    I heard it said like this earlier today: If a professional football coach was brought in to coach a 4-12 team, and his first season they went 3-13; second 2-14; third 3-13; and fourth 4-12...he'd be fired (in fact, he wouldn't last that long). He could say, "Hey, I've got us back to where we were (while spending millions on ineffective salaries, costs, etc), so I should be given more time." But in all reality, his whole tenure has been a miserable failure. That's what we have here, ladies and gentlemen, along with an obvious case of COOKING THE BOOKS!

    October 5, 2012 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. mcc

    ok – so – we put the miltary on hold for 3 months from their downsizing of thousands of troops... we put the defense contractors ILLEGALLY on hold for 3 months from announcing their layoffs of thousands of employees while taxpayers pay their legal bills for playing this game to break this law... 352k more dropped out of the workplace... and a whole bunch of folks got part time jobs for xmas... I am still trying to find the recovery in this...

    October 5, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  21. PHinMiami

    Did someone forget to tell Mitt the 'drop' in unemployment was a 'good thing' for the United States?

    Perhaps he thought the people over-seas, guarding his money, were losing their jobs to US citizens.

    October 5, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  22. DP


    October 5, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  23. Tex71

    Good news for America = disaster for the GOP

    October 5, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  24. Scientist 101

    Anybody who didn't know that the unemployment rate would "magically" fall right before the election is nuts. Even though we know how many jobs employers added in September, almost a million jobs appeared out of thin air in 1 month. I wonder where they came from? I will bet any amount of money that the numbers will be revised downward .... AFTER the election.

    October 5, 2012 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. CatholicMike

    The majority of jobs added were part-time and many people are taking multiple part-time jobs to make ends meet. How is double-counting job numbers a boon to Obama?

    There were fewer jobs added this month than last month, meaning the decrease is due to more people leaving the workforce. How is this a boon to Obama?

    October 5, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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