Obama, Romney still hitting campaign trail
After a rough week dominated by his lackluster performance in Wednesday's debate, President Obama is seizing on some good news when it comes to the unemployment rate. But Mitt Romney also sees reason for pessimism in those same figures. Josh Robin has the latest from the campaign trail.
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UNITED STATES -- The President stumped in two battlegrounds, armed with new figures that paint an improving, if still troubled picture of the nation's workforce.
The unemployment rate is now 7.8 percent, the lowest number since Obama took office. The economy added 114,000 new jobs in September.
President Obama said, "Today's news should give us some encouragement. It shouldn't be an excuse for the other side to talk down the economy."
But Mitt Romney says the rate is falling only because people have given up looking for work.
Romney said, "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 percent. That's the real reality of what's happening out there."
Romney is right that there are many people who have given up. But actually, the number of so-called discouraged workers fell over the past year by more than 200,000. Independent experts say the unemployment rate went down even as the total labor force increased, with more people looking for jobs.
"At first blush, it does appear to be simply more people finding jobs," YNN business reporter Diane King said.
The President's advisors blasted Romney's remarks as false. That fits their new line of attack against the Republican. Romney is moderating the conservative positions that landed him his party's nomination and Obama is adjusting accordingly. Romney isn't just a heartless businessman, he's a flip-flopper.
"My opponent has been trying to do a two-step and reposition and got an extreme makeover," Obama said.
But Romney says Obama's record is nothing to laugh at. He is using stark language to warn of four more years with him in the White House.
"This is a critical time. If we were to re-elect President Obama, I don't think we would measure up to the test of time," said Romney.
The next job report is November 2nd, the Friday before the election.
On a mixed day of trading on Wall Street, the Dow was up to its highest level since December of 2007.