171,000 new jobs were added for the month of October, a number which is not terrible, but shows only a small ripple in growth pool.
As for the unemployment rate, the number is up slightly from 7.8 percent in September to 7.9 percent in October. The increase was brought on by the number of people who joined the work force, and is a fall from hovering above 8 percent since February of 2009, one month after President Obama took office.
Among Black voters, who strongly support the president, unemployment jumped from 13.4 percent to 14.3 percent.
Once the report was released, both sides spun the figures in their favor.
Mitt Romney used the increase in the unemployment rate as evidence that the president is failing at his job. “Today’s increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill. The jobless rate is higher than it was when President Obama took office, and there are still 23 million Americans struggling for work.
“On Tuesday [Election Day], America will make a choice between stagnation and prosperity. For four years, President Obama’s policies have crushed America’s middle class…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.”
The White House however sees the number of jobs created (versus the increased unemployment rate), as proof of some improvement. Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House council of economic advisers has been accused of recycling rhetoric, re-using last month’s opening statement on the economy:
“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. 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.”
While the president’s administration often notes that problems with the economy started before he took office, lack of strong job creation could prove to be the downfall of the Obama administration’s bid for another four years.
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Photo: U.S. News