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. Jean Sillat

    The only truth that came out of Rob-me's mouth last Wednesday is that HE WILL INDEED FIRE BIG BIRD BECAUSE HE LOVES to fire people.

    October 5, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. davidp

    Before 2008, federal revenue was already too low due to uncompensated tax cuts known as the Bush tax cuts. This loss of revenue, coupled with the costs of unfunded wars and an unfunded Medicare prescription drug program were primary drivers of these deficits, and subsequently, the national debt.

    Unfortunately, the Great Recession of 2008 caused federal revenue to drop precipitously as nearly 9 million jobs were lost as well as over 19 trillion dollars in household wealth. It couldn't come at a worse time, as millions of baby-boomers were preparing to retire. The economy was in freefall for the U.S. and its allies around the world. A fundamental and drastic decline in the American way of life was in the works. If it continued, there would be a depression even worse than the great depression of 1929.

    In a politically charged atmosphere, and with no good options, President Bush and President Obama made unpopular choices in an effort to save the economy. The costs of their stimulus programs and bailouts increased the U.S. debt further. Arguably, these expenditures were needed to stop a second great depression. Economists argue over the effectiveness of these programs, some even saying the stimulus was too small, and a few saying that troubled industries should have been allowed to utterly fail.

    The severity of the economic problems would not be quickly or easily solved. The U.S. cannot simply lower interest rates and expect a quick recovery. The problems of the U.S.economy are systemic, building over the past forty years. Once more, the economic problems of U.S. allies are tied to America's own economy. With the problems in Europe and the middle East, with Americans working against each other in Congress, it will take some time for America to find a new course to economic prosperity.

    Be happy Americans, the U.S. still has problems, but you avoided a path leading to certain ruin. The U.S. is indeed better off today than it was four years ago. Now, if Americans could start saying "we", instead of "us" and "them", the United State's best years may be ahead of it.

    2013 United States federal budget – $3.8 trillion (submitted 2012 by President Obama)
    2012 United States federal budget – $3.7 trillion (submitted 2011 by President Obama)
    2011 United States federal budget – $3.8 trillion (submitted 2010 by President Obama)
    2010 United States federal budget – $3.6 trillion (submitted 2009 by President Obama)
    2009 United States federal budget – $3.1 trillion (submitted 2008 by President Bush)
    2008 United States federal budget – $2.9 trillion (submitted 2007 by President Bush)
    2007 United States federal budget – $2.8 trillion (submitted 2006 by President Bush)
    2006 United States federal budget – $2.7 trillion (submitted 2005 by President Bush)

    FY 2013* United States federal deficit: $901 billion (Obama) *estimated
    FY 2012* United States federal deficit: $1,327 billion (Obama)
    FY 2011 United States federal deficit: $1,300 billion (Obama)
    FY 2010 United States federal deficit: $1,293 billion (Obama)
    FY 2009 United States federal deficit: $1,413 billion (Bush)
    FY 2008 United States federal deficit: $459 billion (Bush)

    October 5, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Liberals are Fools

    Anyone who thinks 7.8% is GOOD NEWS is a moron. Our GDP grew at an abysmal 1.3%. But the morons posting here are too dumb and uneducated to understand what these numbers really mean. Bottom line, our economy is on the verge of collapse.

    October 5, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. DallasMarine

    Boehner and his cronies are responsible for all the red tape and obstacles that have held this country from fully recovering. Imagine how much better the economy would have been if Repubs in Congress actually did something useful for once?

    October 5, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  5. Be objective - do the math

    Every economist agrees that you need 140k new jobs each month for employment to remain neutral. That's how many new people enter the job market monthly. Also, don't forget to add the people who have stopped looking for jobs into the equation. Also, the DOL report doesn't differentiate between part time and full time work. The issue is that working incomes are lower resulting in less tax revenue and less spending. Both negative impacts on economic conditions.

    October 5, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  6. mike g

    you all think 7.8% is something to crow about? do you realize that most of those jobs created under obama are part time? do you realize that LESS people are in the work force than ever before? do you realize just how many people have given up looking for work and hence are NOT counted in the unemployment numbers?.... I want who ever knows business better and obviously that is Romney

    October 5, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  7. JMorcan

    Absloute nonsense. These numbers don't include the millions who gave up, were kicked off the dole or were forced to work at MacDonald's.

    October 5, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  8. Josepj

    Obama please bring the facts out on mitt please this mitt fellow is a flip flop and and he is the worst thing that could happen to the us obama my 8 year old dauther cryed when you did not go after him in the dabate lose the nice guy attiude lay the facts on the table you old it to the usa ask mr mitt why last month ryan met with david duke at the marrot in new orleans david duke and ex kkk

    October 5, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. lindaluttrell

    WHEN I am elected...gonna corporate raid he White House as well???

    October 5, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. Why Why Why

    Obama has almost created more jobs than Romney eliminated while gutting companies and pensions at Bain. Big Bird's out of work, youre next.

    October 5, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  11. Opposition

    This is a wake up call to up the job destruction ideas. Can't have job progress with Dems in control. The folks that are off the unemployment line means nothing and must be put back on the line if Robme's lies are to be adhered too by the House.

    October 5, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. jiba

    Romney doesn't represent the majority- please dont be naive with misleading information. Do your research- your vote counts- make your decision not by popular votes..thats the power of democarcy.

    October 5, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Ted

    Wouldn't it just be better if the Republicans didn't collapse the economy in the first place? I mean, what part of creating a crisis and getting bailed out by others, and then criticizing those who fix your mess is so hard to figure out?

    October 5, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  14. DL

    Here's an interesting fact check, the 12 million that Romney promises, are 12 million coming as a result of what Obama has done. That is a fact. So Romney's plan isn't to create jobs, it's to ride Obama's coat tails and pretend he did it. Remember, Romney claiming he would make 14 million jobs, of course he can't account for his '2 million' but 12 million of those are Obama's. The only station that hasn't 'verified' it is Fox.

    October 5, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  15. CNNuthin

    Romney thinks Obama should be creating jobs as quickly as Bain is able to destroy them.

    October 5, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  16. dood

    Don't worry. Mitt will change his mind about this too.

    October 5, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  17. Republican 101

    Obama is a real candidate? Really......so you all would prefer a broke nation that hands out money that it doesn't have and gives it out for free to people who can work and are mentally fit to work........instead of a country that actually creates jobs for the rest of the 47%..........so you all prefer Socialism........it does not work.......along with communism.....it fails......spread the money around from the rich is B.S. .........we need less government and more entrepreneurship and more capitalism........Obamas plan........Socialism=Fail.........tell Obama to give his millions of dollars that he has made and give it away for free......he won't because its his money not yours..........

    October 5, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  18. bryes

    What a coincidence that just before the election, the numbers returned to the same level as when Obama took office. It sounds like they've been manipulated, although returning back to where it began in a so-called recovery, isn't showing improvement.

    October 5, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  19. Rick CT

    Obamanites get excited about 5 million jobs in 3+ years. but they forget what the potential is when the President believes in the private sector and promotes pro-growth policies. Jobs created in the first 3 years of the Reagan recovery totaled over 9 million from a base that was 30% small than the job base in 2009. That's wht a recovery should be.

    October 5, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  20. Annie

    Romnuts is just a negative little twit because his celebration was short lived. He's un-American for slamming the progress this country is making because he wants to make himself look good. He's not in it for the people, obviously, just for his massive ego. He's also a pathological liar and unfit to be Prez.

    October 5, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  21. Don

    R0mney, you are NOT allowed to make up your own facts!

    I question the loyalty and motives of those who align themselves against our nation's economic recovery.


    October 5, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  22. dood

    Mitt is still trying to convince the 47% that he was just joshing about that comment a couple of weeks ago.

    October 5, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  23. twisted mind

    Romney said is not enough...

    My answer to you is this, Ok! you will see soon what is enough. by the way I am one of the 47%.

    October 5, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  24. Jim R

    Nice try – this means nothing to his campaign because Obama's policies have and will continue to be anemic at best and undecided independents finally saw the real deal, not the Obama war chest of lying political commercials last Wednesday night. See you all in here on November 7th for "eat crow" day

    October 5, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  25. Kona

    The economy still sux, but even Romney believes if we do nothing at all we'll still create 12 million jobs in the next four years.

    October 5, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
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