Today's Political Football: Falling Jobless Rate

Obama, Romney spar over whether the lower rate means much
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2012 2:23 PM CDT
Today's Political Football: Falling Jobless Rate
President Obama speaks at a campaign event at George Mason University Friday, in Fairfax, Va.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(Newser) – Today's unemployment numbers were bound to surface on the campaign, considering the rate dropped below the 8% threshold:

  • President Obama: “We are moving forward again," he said. "After losing more than 800,000 jobs a month when I took office, our businesses have now added 5.2 million new jobs over the past two and a half years. This morning, we found out that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since I took office." Too many are still out of work, he added, but "today's news is certainly not an excuse to try to talk down the economy to score a few political points." See the Hill.
  • Mitt Romney: “This is not what a real recovery looks like," Romney said in a statement. In Virginia later, he added: "It looks like unemployment is getting better, but the truth is that if the same share of people were looking for jobs now as they were when the president took office, the unemployment rate would be 11%." See Talking Points Memo.
  • Financial blogger Felix Salmon, Reuters: "It’s a little bit depressing that 7.8% counts as low, for these purposes, but clearly it does—especially considering that it has come down 1.2 percentage points in the past year. I don’t know how much credit Obama can really take for that, but America, right now, seems to be willing to give him the benefit of the doubt."
  • Philip Klein, Beltway Confidential: The numbers may look rosier, but that's because these are low-paying "McJobs" for the most part.
  • Conspiracy theorists think the White House rigged the numbers. Ezra Klein at the Washington Post debunks the claims and adds this assessment of the data: "This is a good jobs report in a still-weak economy."
(Read more unemployment stories.)

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