Final jobs report before election gives ammo for both sides
November 2nd, 2012
09:59 AM ET
8 years ago

Final jobs report before election gives ammo for both sides

(CNN) – The final set of monthly jobs data before Tuesday's presidential election provided both campaigns fodder to drive home their closing arguments on jobs and the economy, with President Barack Obama's team arguing the numbers show the economy on the rebound while Mitt Romney's team claiming it shows an economy still struggling.

The GOP nominee spotlighted the unemployment rate rising to 7.9%, up from 7.8% a month ago. While the rate is lower than the benchmark 8%, it's higher than it was when President Barack Obama took office in 2008.

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"Today's increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill," Romney wrote in a statement soon after the report was released. "The jobless rate is higher than it was when President Obama took office, and there are still 23 million Americans struggling for work."

Romney used the report to push ahead to next week's election, saying it makes the choice even clearer for voters who are still undecided in their presidential preference.

"On Tuesday, America will make a choice between stagnation and prosperity," Romney wrote. "For four years, President Obama's policies have crushed America's middle class. For four years, President Obama has told us that things are getting better and that we're making progress. For too many American families, those words ring hollow."

"When I'm president, I'm going to make real changes that lead to a real recovery, so that the next four years are better than the last," he concluded.

Romney's running mate, Rep. Paul Ryan, echoed Romney's points at a separate event in Colorado, then criticized Obama for the economic stimulus measure.

"The economy is growing at less than half the rate that the president said it would be growing at if only he could borrow a bunch of money and spend it on his cronies and stimulus package," Ryan said. "We are 9 million jobs short than what he said he would accomplish. Look, in the president's campaign for another term, he has offered nothing different and if he is reelected, nothing different is exactly what we would get."

Obama's team honed in on the 171,000 jobs that were created in October, according to Friday's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number, which exceeded economists' expectations, gave Obama and his surrogates an opportunity to tout an economy on the upswing, and to advocate for another four years of Obama's economic policies.

"While more work remains to be done, today's employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression," Alan Krueger, the chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, wrote in a blog post on the White House website. "It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007."

Both Obama and Romney have events scheduled for later Friday morning, and both were expected to address the jobs report.

Candy Crowley, CNN's chief political correspondent, said Friday the report was unlikely to sway many voters since it largely plays into what the candidates have been saying for months on the campaign trail.

"This is fuel to the same fire," Crowley said. "Both the president and the governor will come out and say, you see? I told you all along this was so, and this report is exactly what I was trying to tell you about."

Sheila Bair, the former chairman of the FDIC, said that since the numbers already played into the campaigns' economic narratives, the effect would be minimal on Election Day.

"I think the reality is the unemployment rate is now higher than it was when Mr. Obama took office, so that's going to give Mr. Romney a talking point, but the jobs creation number is a good one, so I think it's a wash and won't have much impact," Bair said on CNN.

Filed under: 2012 • Jobs • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Reality

    Actually it is unambiguously good news. Who cares about "ammo", try reality-based reporting.

    November 2, 2012 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  2. Ray E. (Georgia)

    The problem with this jobs report is there is a 99 percent chance it will get no better if Obama is Re-Elected.There is a 98 percent it will get worse the next 4 years if Obama is Re-Elected. There is a 50 percent chance if you have a job today it may not be there if Obama is Re-Elected.

    November 2, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  3. rla

    Not really this report just extends the longest recovery in history- Go Romney

    November 2, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  4. Beal

    Obama ends his term with a higher unemployment rate than when he started. I fail to the elation from the Obamanation – failure.

    November 2, 2012 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  5. Sorry Charlie

    Well, the same number of jobs created as were lost, a push. But we had an uptick. I will vote Romney but I still don't believe the number no matter what up or down.

    November 2, 2012 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  6. American People

    How many jobs did Bain send off-shore Willard? Show us your tax returns Willard. You are a criminal for not disclosing income from your off-shore accounts on your tax returns. THAT's why McCain chose PALIN over you!!!!! And we know how that turned out.

    November 2, 2012 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  7. jkane sfl a vote for lady parts romney the tax cheat and lyin lady parts ryan willcut your moms medicare and soc sec . .can you afford to pay for them???

    Romney never created any jobs in his life except to hire some illegals to cut his lawn !!!!!

    November 2, 2012 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  8. Dee45

    And the timing of these reports are not suspect at all? Nah. Didn't think so.

    November 2, 2012 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  9. FactChik

    Let's review: when you LOSE more jobs than you create, that is a DEFICIT of jobs. When there are more unemployed folks than when you started, you lost ground. Most of the "new" jobs are seasonal jobs for the Christmas season, which means it's probable the unemployment number might go up again when many or most of those jobs go poof. Most of the "increased consumer spending" is just Christmas shopping.

    Reality makes it REAL difficult for anybody to find much of a silver lining in all this- unless temporary jobs with no benefits and low-pay is something to celebrate.

    This article is a joke.

    November 2, 2012 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  10. ThinkAgain: All of the GOP's policies are PROVEN FAILURES

    32 straight months of private sector job growth – what is it about that you don't get? Mittens would take us back to the failed economic policies of the Bush era, which lead to our economy LOSING 800,000 jobs a MONTH!

    President Obama's policies are working – and they'd be working even better if the Repubs hadn't spent the last four years obstructing everything the President has tried to do.

    If you want to return to failure, vote for Mittens 'n' Munster. If you want to continue job growth, investing in our future and REAL LEADERSHIP (just ask Chris Christie), then vote for President Obama and a straight Democratic ticket.

    Obama/Biden 2012 = The only sane choice

    November 2, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  11. Jeetu

    I think this is a good report from various points of view. First, more people are being hired. Second, more people are encouraged to find jobs and that has given rise to the unemployment rate to be 7.9%. This is a good news as this means that more people are having confidence in the economy. Third, this shows that we are on upward trajectory and given this rate, we will create more than 12 million jobs over the next four years following the policies propagated by President Obama. This means that we can stay the current path to find out way out of this great recession started in 2007. Fourth, it is clear that we need to re-elect Obama as POTUS and democrats in the House and Senate to create jobs and find our prosperity back. Fifth< we cannot take a chance to vote for Romney as that would create a backward movement to the 2007 years which would create more unemployment and more losses to the middle class and the poor.

    Therefore, let us vote for Obama and all the democrats in the elections on November 6 and protect our prosperity and freedom.

    November 2, 2012 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  12. J

    Funny how CNN and all of the other liberal media outlets never mention how average incomes have DROPPED during the Obama administration... people are underemployed and taking any crappy job just to pay the bills. Add to that the record high number receiving food stamps and other govt assistance. That isn't economic progress.

    November 2, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  13. FactChik

    "How many jobs did Bain send off-shore Willard?" Truth is most people who tout this line of idiocy don't know- just like they don't know how many jobs Bain created or saved. They fixate on one aspect, ignore the rest and spout it like it's real.

    Until you know how many jobs Bain created, saved, lost or shipped overseas- you are WILLFULLY IGNORANT because you refuse to learn ALL the facts.

    November 2, 2012 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  14. Dutch

    I just don't see this number jump to 250.000 and stay there for 48 months to get to the 12 million jobs promised by Romney. I'm not sure Obama is the better candidate but at least we are heading in the rigth direction. Romney math just hasn't made any sense so far and I just don't see Romney as a wordlleader.

    November 2, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  15. babak

    where are lefties!?

    November 2, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  16. Jim Cahalan

    >higher than it was when President Barack Obama took office in 2008.
    Correction: He took office in 2009, not 2008. Look as these 2009 unemployment rates after he was inaugurated on Jan. 20:
    Year Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
    2009 8.3 8.7 8.9 9.4 9.5 9.5 9.6 9.8 10.0 9.9 9.9
    Those were inherited, not his fault: Trying to blame those rates on Obama would be a bit like trying to blame Chris Christie for the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that will continue in the months to come. Despite inheriting a Great Recession caused by 8 years of Bush and the fact that (as Bill Clinton noted) no human on the planet could have cured it in 4 years, since then Obama has gradually and steadily brought the unemployment rate below 8% for two months running now (with more people again looking for jobs in October, which is why the rate inched up a tenth of a point to 7.9%). As he stresses, that's not good enough, but things are heading in the right direction, and will continue to if Obama is re-elected and continues to take new initiatives like saving the auto industry. If Romney is elected and delivers on his promise to return to Bush's policies of not taxing the rich and all the rest, expect unemployment rates to return to 2009 levels.

    November 2, 2012 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  17. FactChik

    To echo Beal: THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ENDS WITH HIGHER UNEMPLOYMENT THAN WHEN IT STARTED. Betcha that contextual piece of information will never enter the minds of the many blind followers or the headlines of the fawning Obama-loving media.

    November 2, 2012 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  18. RudyG

    I don't see where the ammo is for the Obama side!!! Anything under 200,000 per month is whistling Dixie! I'll be dead before the unemployed are employed again! "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results" – the definition of insanity according to Albert Einstein.
    We are going NOWHERE!

    November 2, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. Biased Reporting

    How is the latest jobs report a "win" for both candidates? It plainly demonstrates that the economy remains at a standstill. The argument that 171k jobs was created is like saying the world population increased by 10k today due to newborns without mentioning the deaths. Most jobs added are seasonal and manufacturing, possibly the most indicative indicator of consumer demand, has remained flat.

    November 2, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  20. epluribus unum

    How is increased unemployment ammo for Obama?

    November 2, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  21. MNAnonymous!

    Let's vote for Mr. Romney! Those 12,000,000 jobs as servants of Mr. Romney's 1% are very attractive! I look forward to beg them for table scraps at a lowered minimum wage salary (oh, right they want to get rid of minimum wage)... They are so magnanimous and generous with us poor middle class! Those crumbs will trickle down!

    November 2, 2012 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  22. Robert

    Another jobs report that shows we are steadily climbing out of the hole that was blown in our economy right before Obama took office. Rapid recovery is seldom sustainable, but steady progress, while not immediately making up for the losses, tends to last and is not subject to rapid decline when economic hiccups happen. Vote Obama/Biden for continued economic recovery.

    November 2, 2012 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  23. 1crusader

    Economists who have looked at this report say it's very good-including leading economist and former McCain economic advisor.The .01 rate increase was expected because more people began looking for jobs again.It's complicated, but all in all, the economy is steadily improving, and it's undeniable.It is set to gain up to 12,000,000 new jobs, regardless of who is president.

    November 2, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  24. crp

    There is no ammo in this report which arrived 4 days before the election. We are faced with huge problems in this country. The response by each candidate to this latest disaster says it all for me. We are flooded on the airwaves by ads starring "women" who are worried about the economy and the debt their children will face. Where were they 8 or 9 years ago when people were talking about the mounting debt under the last administration? Why weren't they worried when Wall Street caused such havoc and then returned to their old way and gave obscene bonuses once again? How shallow can we get?

    The women surely do represent the 53% They surroundings and their props say it all. They are clearly not worried about the 47% either. Shouldn't we be a little more worried about our schools, our infrastructure, health care for our children and everyone else, crime rates, Care for children whose parents both work, the multiple deployments of our military and the effect on their families, the proposed rise of the military industrial complex, more involvement in the internal fighting in the middle 'east countries, etc,. etc.

    November 2, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  25. Phil

    171,000 jobs added in Oct is nothing to brag about considering its OCT and season & holiday jobs are now kicking in. Take the PT jobs & seasonal jobs out of that report and that 171,000 would drop dramatically. The unemployed need FT decent paying jobs w/ longevity! 7.9% is worse and a horrible statistic no matter how you look at it.

    November 2, 2012 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
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