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. Jimmy the Swartz

    NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THE TRUE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IS. They only track open unemployment benefit claims. It does NOT include 1) those whose benefits have expired; 2) those just entering the workforce, and unable to find work (graduates, military veterans, immigrants, those ineligible for unemployment, etc.).

    October 5, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. FedUpInSeattle

    Even overlooking the FACT that a unprecedented amount of this job creation was bolstered by the rise in Part-time workers, of those who can’t find a real job and for those two income families in which one partner was forced to drop out of the work force and is no longer getting the unemployment for which unemployment numbers are based. This drop to 7.8% still is un-impressive. We as American’s have becomes so used to this bad economy that sideways is the new up. The way the Left spins this is embarrassing. As I said if we were to account for Underemployed and Drop outs the numbers are truly bad. To praise these numbers is like a teen driver borrowing the car and returning it home for months with less gas than they took it with and then ONE time bring it home with the same amount of gas as when it was borrowed and then patting themselves on the back as if they did some great thing.

    October 5, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  3. Patrick in Wisconsin

    Oh, sure Republicans, it's all a conspiracy. It isn't even remotely possible that the unemployment rate actually went down. It isn't remotely possible that the economy is in fact improving. It isn't even remotely possible that your trickle-down doctrine is being proven false even more as the days roll by. OK, enough sarcasm. Get a grip on reality and turn off Fox News.

    October 5, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. Christoph P

    As they said along, ObamaCaresIndeed.com

    October 5, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. SKB

    This thing no one discusses is that the majority job lost under Bush are not coming back so Obama will never have the job market numbers the same. Electronics have replaced people and companies have learned to make do with less people. In the town I live, the major manufacturers like GM, Bridgestone, Nissan laid off during the Bush era. They are all running at full capacity now but it is less people than during the fallout with Bush and those jobs are never coming back. Romney will have us in a war within 6 months because that is all the Republicans know.

    October 5, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. Thomas

    Mit should be happy , isn't he unemployed ?

    Oh , he and his sons day job for the last eight years was running for King.

    On July 4, 2007, the Romney campaign officially launched the "Mitt Mobile, A Five Brothers Bus", referring to Romney's five sons and his official campaign blog, Five Brothers. When asked why his sons were not fighting in Iraq, Romney replied that his sons were supporting America by riding from town to town in the "Five Brothers Bus," saying "One of the ways my sons are showing support for our nation is helping me get elected

    October 5, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. a disgrace but you voted for him

    for obama to lie that big on the job numbers romney must have shook him even worse than we thought at the debate!obama made fools out of the american people once its going to be a lot harder to do it twice now that they know what a failure he has been!!

    October 5, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Benjamin Buswell

    7.8% baby! President Obama did it! Suck on that Romney! Lets bust out the champagne!


    What's that reality? The real unemployment rate if you include people who have given up on finding jobs (the U-6) is unchanged at 14.7%. Oh...but we are still improving right? What? 66% of those new jobs are part-time and will only bring in an average $24k to 37k a year in salary? hmmmm

    Well, at least the private sector is picking up some serious steam! Your kidding? Government jobs accounted for 36% of the new job growth?

    How is this good news then? Oh...it's not. But all of the President's proxies are saying this is great. Maybe they haven't seen all the facts? Really? You think they're lying?

    October 5, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. Bill

    One point: if the labor participaton rate went up from last month, we had only 114K jobs created, and it takes 150K to just keep up with population growth, how did the rate drop? Must be magic math here.

    October 5, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. Iluvkittens_imeanmittens

    Awesome....it took Obama only $6 Trillion to get back to right where he started. Even CNN said during these 4 years we have only added ~125,000 jobs net. Sure you add 4.5 million low wage jobs, but lose 4.375 million good paying jobs. Quit reading the headlines and actually for once look into the details.

    October 5, 2012 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. what a joke

    Yep. Just in Time. Now watch as magically, the deficit is also reduce and the 47% are happily living off others dime....

    October 5, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    CNN is a joke,

    October 5, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  13. Myto Senseworth

    The job increase was nothing but part time labor. These jobs are mostly small businesses helping students get a little spending money........ Nothing more. There are too few places to get a real job with benifits.

    October 5, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  14. Junior

    Romney has no plan for new good paying jobs when his beliefs and policies will lower the pay for the ones we have now.

    October 5, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  15. D-man5005

    "'Yes, the U-3 unemployment rate fell to 7.8%, the first time it has been below 8% since January 2009. But that's only due to a flood of 582,000 part-time jobs. ... The broader U-6 rate - which takes into account part-time workers who want full-time work and lots of discouraged workers who've given up looking - stayed unchanged at 14.7%. That's a better gauge of the true unemployment rate and state of the American labor market. ... The shrunken workforce remains shrunken"

    October 5, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  16. T

    Everyone that says this JOBs report is Good thing must be the 47% that lives off the Gov because they have no understanding that these jobs that were created pay a lot less!

    October 5, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  17. SufferingInflorida

    Average American family has come down $4300? For my family, more like $30,000 per year. I am underemployed and have been so for four years. Lucky to have a job, while many have given up. Have already cashed in what little 401k I had to save the house for 9 months, but still not enough. Next step will be selling the underwater house. Higher insurance, higher energy, higher food costs, higher gas...need we say more.

    October 5, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  18. Oregon Calling

    ROTFLMAO!!!!!! n

    October 5, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  19. jackthegeek

    They lied again to the public regarding job claims. Former GE CEO Welch Says White House Manipulates Jobs Data. HA HA HA

    Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/business/bloomberg/article/Former-GE-CEO-Welch-Says-White-House-Manipulates-3922089.php#ixzz28RzvOtSR

    October 5, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  20. sally

    None of my comments seem to get posted...but I'll try again anyways:

    The closely watched U-6 rate, which also takes into account those who have quit looking for work, held at 14.7%. Had the participation rate not dropped as much as it has over the past three years, the more-publicized U-3 unemployment rate actually would be 9.8%, according to University of Maryland economist Peter Morici.

    The average duration of joblessness rose to 39.8 weeks, its highest since June and still near the all-time peak of 40.9 weeks set in November 2011.

    Perhaps most telling of all, the number of part-time workers soared by 582,000

    October 5, 2012 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  21. Mike

    Willard is going down in flames (preferably in his private jet along with Ryan).

    October 5, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. the situation

    Penny Wright
    America has added 5 million private sector jobs since the stimulus.

    Here’s what Bush left us with.....

    Aug 2008 – 334,000 net JOBS LOST
    Sep 2008 – 458,000 net JOBS LOST
    Oct 2008 – 554,000 net JOBS LOST
    Nov 2008 – 728,000 net JOBS LOST
    Dec 2008 – 673,000 net JOBS LOST
    Jan 2009 – 779,000 net JOBS LOST

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

    And this was after the 1st stimulus package was signed off in early 2008, something that Lying Ryan signed up for and support.

    October 5, 2012 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. The Truth

    If the same amount of people were working today as were working when obama was elected, the unemployment rate would be 10.7%

    This is just more spin from the left. The left cheer when people are so discouraged they stop bothering to look for work and the only ones getting any work are part-timers or at McDonald's.

    Welcome to the Obama economy, this European stagnation is the new normal.

    October 5, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. EyesWideOpen

    Can someone please explain, in a civilized logical manner, how unemployment can go down by 0.3% when only 114,000 jobs were created? Please realize that it takes 125k to keep up with population growth and those just entering the workforce. Also, 114k is less than August which was less than July. In other words, there have been progressively fewer jobs created each of the last 3 months yet unemployment just went down. This doesn't make any logical sense to a thinking mind and I'd really like to learn how this is even possible and how this report is progress like we're being told.

    October 5, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  25. Aezel

    Actually this is what real recovery looks like: slow. Rapid growth is NOT healthy, we tried that and it crashed the housing market, because the value was not real.

    October 5, 2012 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
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