How does the decline in unemployment affect your view of the presidential contest?

Figures released Friday showed that the unemployment rate in September dropped to 7.8 percent. It was the lowest unemployment rate since President Obama took office in January 2009. Today’s Question: How does the decline in unemployment affect your view of the presidential contest?

  • reggie

    Only a fool would think that the occupant of the White House has any but the most tangential influence on month-to-month national employment levels. In this, and so much else, Romney is the much bigger fool. He’s the guy who says he likes to fire people, and his career at Bain proves he’s a man of his word (sometimes).

  • Gary F

    Now that they keep changing how the number is calculated, the number means less and less.

    The labor participation rate is at it lowest in a long long time.

    But that of course won’t be covered in detail from the mainstream media

  • Steve the Cynic

    It doesn’t. (What reggie said.) The idea that our problems can be solved if only we elect the right president, or that our problems are the fault of the the incumbent, is little more than superstition.

  • Rich in Duluth

    The decline in unemployment doesn’t affect my view of the presidential election, because I expect the recovery to take a long time.

    My understanding is that it typically takes four years for the country to recover from a recession. This recession was nearly as bad as the Great Depression, so to expect to have things return to normal in four years is ridiculous. As stated previously, the President has little or no control over employment. The blame should really be on big business, which is sitting on billions of dollars and not hiring. Putting people to work, so they have money to spend, would get the economy going again, broaden the tax base and lower the deficit.

  • James

    It’s only impact is to sadden me about the state of the campaign and the state of the electorate.

    First, as many people have already said, presidents have little impact on monthly unemployment figures, so it should be a relative non-issue.

    Second, the math simply does not work. 114,000 new jobs should not cause the unemployment rate to drop 0.3%, so clearly there were big errors in past months or the numbers simply cannot be trusted.

    Finally, jobs measures do not consider the quality of jobs. A server at McDonalds at $7/hour counts the same as an engineer at NASA.

    The fact that the candidates focus on unemployment rates shows how much they disrespect the electorate. The fact that the electorate is impacted by the numbers tells us why we are disrespected.

  • Rich

    The broad story remains: Romney has a fair bit of ground to make up, and while good debate performances can help he needs assistance from deteriorating economic data to pull this out. And right now, the data are moving against him.

  • GregX

    Not much. I – like many of the general media consuming population am aware that the governemtn and the president have very little to do with hiring and firing in the privagte sector. I’ve seen the large scale “divestment” of employees on the basis of lack of business. Until business activity returns , via a (1) government-debt derived stiumulus, (2) business’s spending the 2+ trillion reserve dollars (3) the deeply impoverised middle-incomers deciding to go deeper into debt (4) release of the excessive “productivity solution” in favor of more staff wokring at a sustainable level of productivity … we won’t be seeing much in the way of a dramatic improvement. Make no mistake – there will be steady improvement – but my estimate is that getting to a stable 2.5 – 3% with bumps to 3.4 will be THE big jump. 5-7% isn’t realistic without economic restructuring.

  • GregX

    Not much. I – like many of the general media- consuming population am aware that the government and the president have very little to do with hiring and firing in the privagte sector. The stimulus was a shot at keeping business churning – but the delays of congress and the undersized effort relative to our economic size bascailly doomed that approach. Go BIG or Go Home regarding stimulus.

  • Lance

    When the unemployment rate drops because we don’t count:

    a.) the people who have ridden the unemployment train to the end of the eligible benefit period, and

    b.) the long-term discouraged workers, who have become convinced that they can’t find a job, so they quit looking,

    then the advertised rate means nothing.

    The labor participation rate is horrendously low. I saw a chart that compared the unemployment rate and the labor participation rate. They were essentially the same line. We’re on the wrong path.

    This is not the change you were looking for.

  • GregX

    GaryF and the “keep changing how the # calculated” -

    Rubish Gary – the calculation of the #’s haven’t changed. There are several #’s calculated by the labor statisticians and always have been. News organizations and politicians choose to use the “unemployment #” of their choice to support their case for worsening or improving economy. Wisc. Gov Walker did this ( as is Romney now) to try and make the current situation look worse than a month ago or 4 years ago. What both Walker and Romney ar doing however is like comparing a baseball players overall batting average with his specific batting average with men on base. In both their cases – they should have extended their “recomputation period” to cover the entire period they were comparing. In Walkers case – had he done so – his “good jobs period’ # went from 8% unemployment to 13.7% and that would have shown favorable job growth – under the same statistical unemployment #.

    Since you usually detest bad use of #’s I’m suprrised your comment.

  • John

    It doesn’t, both “mainstream” candidates are the same and will result in the same outcome. They both will continue spending money on wars for Israel. Within the next year the war with Iran will start and it will not matter who is in office.

    I am more concerned about the death and destruction that our government continues to proliferate than I am the false unemployment numbers.

  • david

    I sure am not going to vote for the guy promising to add to the unemployment rate buy laying of more workers. The only job the republicans seem to be interested in creating is more soldiers in the mideast, and that is not good for the economy unless you work in the oil or defence industry. Talk about unsustainable.

  • Jim G

    It doesn’t affect my view. I already know Corporate America is sitting on two trillion dollars in cash and it appears to have collectively decided not to hire or invest in our ecomony until after the election. You don’t think that’s a coincidence, do you? Think of what the job numbers would look like if they acted in our best interests and American citizens were hired as employees.

  • Gary F

    Jim G,

    better find out who John Galt is.

    You can only beat the golden goose over the head with a 2×4 for so long before it stops laying golden eggs.

  • CLee

    I don’t think the weekly numbers tell a useful story because they call it the unemployment rate, but it’s really the job seekers rate. These are two very different things. I do feel that government is letting workers down by allowing corporations to classify workers as Exempt meaning they are exempt from protection of overtime rules. So many jobs have been moved into the Exempt status classification that corporations are getting more and more work done with fewer people.

    As a personal example, my daughter is working 50-60 hours a week as a graphic designer. She gets paid for 40 unless she takes a sick day, then she gets docked 8 hours and only gets paid for 32 hours. Meanwhile, the firm she works for bills their clients for the whole 50-60 hours that she worked. This is all legal. Basically, she is taking up 1 1/2 jobs all by herself. So, for every two of her, there should be 3 people employed.

    What would happen to our unemployment rate if employers (job creators) were required to stick to the 40 hour work week for all employees except upper management? Think how many new jobs would be opened up?

  • Rich in Duluth

    I agree with CLee. I’ve been working for an engineering firm for 40 years. We always had occasional times when we scrambled for a week or two finishing a project and working 50-60 hours. Now, for the past 10-15 years, management expects more than 40 hours per week. My son also works for an engineering firm on the east coast. He works 50-60 hours a week pretty much all the time. It takes a toll and keeps others out of the work force….but, that’s business.

  • Linda in Plymouth

    The numbers are only a sample took from about 150,00 phone calls. Real unemployment can be determined by looking at the number of monthly Social security deduction holdings submitted.

    Why no one talks about such things as the Range company and how the Obama appointed dictator running the EPA has killed more jobs than any other agency in the past 4 years? The EPA secretary rules like South American dictators with out having to get Congress approval. Don’t Americans see this happening every year more and more? So maybe NPR should dare cover those EPA horror stories but then NPR would lose the George Soros for funding them. I ask all to demand NPR and CNN to cover the EPA abuse stories and see how our Obama made that happen..He did say in 2007, he would make coal production a losing battle and he would see electricity rates sky rockets. He kept his promise to weaken America.

    It is time to send him home so he can become one of his own caused high unemployed ranks.

  • kevins

    The number published is only one metric, but one used by many sane and reasonable people. The only difference now is that it went down, rather than steady or up. Again, to most sane and reasonable people, this might be good news. Railing on EPA, NPR etc, seems to suggest that this is not good news to some. Sad for them.

  • Steve the Cynic

    If the data don’t fit your ideology, do you question your ideology, or the data?

  • Jim G

    Gary F

    I read Ayn Rand when I was seventeen. John Galt didn’t build that engine without standing on the shoulders of Benjamin Franklin as he flew that kite. CEO’s don’t seem to understand that they are standing on the shoulders of the American worker. Without livable wages and a share of the profits they generate there will be no demand for products and services. Welcome to the slow growth high, unemployment economy brought to us by small minded business leaders.

  • Jim G

    Gary F,

    You should find out how Germany has built an economy that rewards workers and maintains its entitlement programs at a reasonable and responsible level. It’s a country that has experienced huge political and economic consequences because of income disparity after WWI and learned from their past with the help of the American Marshall Plan.

  • Linda in Plymouth

    It is difficult to see much change in the published Unemployment numbers when it is described as the number LOOKING for work, not the total that are unemployed or working low wage part time jobs.

    How can the rate fall at all when the actual numbers of new hired workers is no different than the past 12 months? Did so many die or retire that lowered the rate because there were not enough newly created jobs to off set the prior month numbers.

    How can Americans trust what comes out when we have the Benghazi gate scandal, the Fast and Furious scandal, the Gulf oil drilling shut down that was stated as ta committee recommendation to do so but today we hear they came out and said in writing they never recommended to the EPA czar that it be totally shut down after the spill causing another loss of 10,000 plus workers. We find out today that the CBO records show that Bush’s policies actually did NOT cause the economic crisis with the mortgage industry but rather it was Clinton’s push for pressuring banks to make low or no interest home mortgages ( Affordable Home Act) he signed. Sop wehn the Democrat Obam group advertise we can’t go back to the failed policies that caused this crisis, they are not being truthful at all.

    When a government tries to control the economy and control which will prosper, it always ends in disaster as was the Fannie Mae situation shows us today. Look at Hugo Chavez, the socialist leader of Venezuela that Obama is now praising and giving a statute to him? What is next? We build a Mosque for praising the Arab Spring while they raped our journalists in Egypt and killed our Ambassador? Should we trust the numbers for U.E if the government can’t account for half the stimulus bill? As Governor Romney said, ” Imagine how many teachers could have been hired with Obama’s spending $90 billion for failed Green energy grants ? about a million plus. Imagine how many poor children could have found homes and food with $90 billion wasted on Green friends of Obama? How many? That is not leadership or it is inexperience ideology born of his mentors that espouse Marxism and Black Liberation Theology. So what you expect from that background..honesty and positive results for all of America? Do not get me wrongful, I am still glad so much to be an American, the best country in the world. My only regret is that too many Americans know nothing about their own country and leaders and too many vote becauise of a lie on a bumper sticker. HOPE is not a strategy to fix problems. CHANGE is all most of us have in our pockets after these failed policies of Obama’s people. No wonder George Soros is funding his campaign. Liberals want lower unemployment then they can tell Obama to tell Senator Reid to vote on the jobs bills and the rich liberals can pay more taxes voluntary if they think that is what will work. But they don’t. Senator Kerry is multi millionair and he ran for office and he didn’t pay all his taxes due.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Anything over a screenful here I don’t read. I’ve learned I can count on such posts being misinformed rants.

  • kevins

    If words were votes, Linda, you would win. Congrats. Some here in Minnesota believe however, that a yardstick is still a yardstick.

  • Linda in Plymouth

    The boys comments below this one are typical Progressive Chicago tactics. When they see something they can’t refute, they resort to name call and derogatory comments.

    Unemployment has been unchanged since Obama took the office..fact. His policies did not work because socialism does not work to grow an economy. Our Republic is supposed to prevent the government taking greater control. It is to safe guard our God given rights not to make us believe only government can make us happy. I have lived in both types of government and why I am an American is because of freedoms and capitalism and the opportunity to make and do what I want , but not to be told by government how to be happy.

    Ask yourselves why they riot in Greece. Because their entitlement government gave too much and they can’t do it anymore. Rioters want their free stuff. They say, give me my stuff or I will kill you to get it. So unemployment numbers mean nothing when the cause is a fundamental change in our country. No one asked for Obama’ to make a Fundamental Change of America. Only the UN and socialist countries wanted him to do that..that is what Obama said so I believe him when he says that is his goal…make America and northern countries spread their wealth to the southern countries of Africa and South America..It is wrong.

  • FH

    The U-6 unemployment number includes people who have quit looking for jobs and marginally employed part time people who would like to have full time work. It remained steady at 14.7%. This is probably a better indicator of the real situation in the US. It was 14.2% when Obama took office. It’s also “interesting” that unemployment dropped below 8% with 114,000 jobs in Sept, but barely budged when 141,000 jobs were added in July and 96,000 jobs were added in August. Hmm – 2 days after Obama was badly beaten in the 1st debate.

    Can the President affect hiring in the private sector. Absolutely through measures like regulations and taxes. Look at what is happening in the Medical Device sector because of the increased regulatory hurdles and the excise tax for Medical Devices in Obamacare. Many companies are laying people off from good paying middle class jobs, and a number of companies have cited the excise tax and regulations as the reasons. The President does not understand this because he has never been in private enterprise and has never run a business. He demonizes business and tells owners that “They Did Not Build It”.

    He does not understand that the private sector creates the wealth, the government is simply redistributing it.

  • Linda in Plymouth

    Comment by FH is correct and more should know that before they vote for an inexcpeienced community organizer again. My friend who lives overseas received request to donate to Obama campaign tonight after seeing his web store. They want a security code on her VISA card to buy a shirt but when she was directed to his donation site, they not ask for a security number from back of her VISA! She lives in Taiwan for school and was born in China, so you see our Obama asks for donations under the limit of $200, they say, like $190 to donate. Obama’s group is soliciting campaign donations from a foreign country which is against the laws..how can they do that and not care if donation is right or fraudulent? Why does our American media NOT report these things? Campaign fruad , getting money from foreign countries and no one reports this?? Are America so ignorant or care not for their freedoms? So we should care about phoney unemployment numbers when President can skirts the laws himself? Is that OK? Demand your media investigate…do you all want China to fund his campaigns?

  • Linda in Plymouth

    To the uninformed man who said below, ” As stated previously, the President has little or no control over employment. The blame should really be on big business, which is sitting on billions of dollars and not hiring. ” THAT is so nonsense.

    A President signs bills that either help or hinder the ability for business to grow. He closed down the Gulf oil drilling for a year and “killed 10,000 jobs.” He refused to sign the Key stone pipeline project and uses his radical deceitful EPA czar to stop federal land permits to go through for drilling and fracturing for gas. Cost America another 10-20,000 jobs. He gave away our tax dollars to Brazil so they_ could do the deep water drilling and says ” we want to be Brazil’s best customer.” So many are so blind_ Obama’s goal as he stated is really to spread the wealth of our country citizens to other countries. He costs more jobs then his polices promoted_ that is fact from the government numbers of employed. Biug business is not investing, they are indeed holding onto their assets because the Obama rules are always changing, EPA has a record of going after business, threats to them and stops them from business growth with excess regulations that make no sense. Do you not know how many new regulations were imposed in the Obama Affordable Health Care Act since it was passed? 21,000 new pages of regulations were added and all were done without our Congress having any say..a EPA czar does her way and that is what is killing our recovery so yes

  • Steve the Cynic

    No, Linda. It’s not that we can’t refute your claims. It’s that it’s not worth the trouble. Whatever anyone might say won’t change your mind, and your posts are so full of conspiracy theories, obvious distortions, and weak arguments that rational people won’t take them seriously anyway.

  • Jefferson

    I’m glad I learned about how we calculate the unemployment rate…it’s highly unreliable since we base it upon surveys to households. The much more reliable number is the number of jobs created since it is based on many more employers actually reporting how many jobs they created in the month…plus the employer reporting is a much larger percentage of the number of employers as a whole. Here are the numbers from last month’s reporting, the number of unemployed as per the household survey showed that there were 456,000 fewer people unemployed. The number of jobs created was only 114,000 based on the employer reporting. Those numbers are conflicting…I’m betting that the 114,000 is much more reliable and even if we take the 456,000 as somewhat reliable that means we lost 342,000 people from the labor market. Losing that many people from the labor market is a lot more important than simply creating 114,000 jobs but this analysis of the numbers is rarely occurring in the media; that’s the scary part. What I’m hoping is that these numbers make more sense next month…I’m just concerned we might see a huge increase in the unemployment rate right before the election…which might have more influence in the election than this month’s numbers. The worst thing that could happen is another confusing jobs report next month…I would seriously consider the idea that someone is manipulating the figures if the household survey is showing much lower unemployment numbers while the employer reporting shows anemic job growth two months in a row right before an election. Otherwise I could write off one unusual month (like September’s numbers) as a statistical anomaly.