Total Pageviews

Friday, October 5, 2012

Romney Says Jobs Numbers Are Not True Sign of Growth


ABINGDON, Va. - Mitt Romney sought to play down the latest jobs numbers - a 7.8 percent unemployment rate, the lowest since 2009 - at stop in coal country here, telling the crowd that the rate had come down “very, very slowly.” The improving employment numbers, he said, were the result of people dropping out of the work force and not a true sign of job growth.

“The reason it's come down this year is primarily due to the fact that more and more people have just stopped looking for work,” Mr. Romney said. “The truth is, if the same share of people were participating in the work force today as on the day the president got elected, our unemployment rate would be around 11 percent.”

An unemployment rate of 8 percent had become something of Mr. Romney's economic “red line” on the campaign trail, where he liked to remind voters how many months it had been since the rate had fallen below that mark, and attack P resident Obama over his promise that, with the stimulus, he would get the rate below 8 percent. But on Friday, as the unemployment rate dropped from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent - the first time in nearly four years - Mr. Romney refused to cede any ground to the president.

“The reason it's come down this year is primarily due to the fact that more and more people have just stopped looking for work,” he said. “And if you just dropped out of the work force, if you just give up and say, ‘Look, I can't go back to work, I'm just going to stay home,' if you just drop out all together, why you're no longer part of the employment statistics, so it looks like unemployment is getting better.”

He added: “When I'm president of the United states - when I'm president of the United States - that unemployment rate is going to come down not because people are giving up and dropping out of the work force but because we're creating more jobs.”

The Obama campaign was quick to hit back.

“At his Virginia event today, Mitt Romney talked down the economic progress we're making, but the truth is that businesses have added 5.2 million jobs over the past two and a half years, and the unemployment rate is now at its lowest levels since January 2009,” said Lis Smith, an Obama campaign spokeswoman, in an e-mail statement. “Romney won't tell the truth because he knows his plans would pummel the middle class, taking us back to the same failed policies that caused the collapse and record job losses in the first place. In fact, independent economists say his plans would not create jobs, could slow the recovery, and could actually cost us two million jobs over the next two years.”