Jobless rate declines to 7.8 percent

Good news for President Obama, as Steve Benen explains HERE:

If I had a nickel for every time Mitt Romney has said the unemployment rate has been above 8% throughout the Obama presidency, I’d have, well, nearly as much money as Mitt Romney.

Today, however, the talking point died. The unemployment rate fell unexpectedly, dropping from 8.1% to 7.8%.

As we’ve discussed before, decreases in the jobless rate are not always good news — the figure sometimes falls when discouraged Americans drop out of the workforce altogether — but that’s the case with the new data. The employment-to-population ratio went up, job creation went up, and the labor force went up.

In other words, the drop in the unemployment rate is heartening, not discouraging.

And given that there’s a presidential election in 32 days, the figure carries a heavy political salience. In February 2009, President Obama’s first full month in office, the jobless rate was 8.3% and climbing. As of today, it’s 7.8% and falling.



  1. There is more on this here.


    Though the headline of the household survey looks good, the fact that a broader rate of unemployment didn’t budge presents a puzzle. The unemployment rate is calculated based on the number of unemployed — people who are without jobs, who are available to work and who have actively sought work in the prior four weeks. The “actively looking for work” definition is fairly broad, including people who contacted an employer, employment agency, job center or friends; sent out resumes or filled out applications; or answered or placed ads, among other things. The unemployment rate is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed by the total number of people in the labor force.

    The broader unemployment rate, known as the “U-6″ for its data classification by the Labor Department, includes everyone in the official rate plus “marginally attached workers” — those who are neither working nor looking for work, but say they want a job and have looked for work recently; and people who are employed part-time for economic reasons, meaning they want full-time work but took a part-time schedule instead because that’s all they could find.

    In September, the number of part-time workers who would like full-time jobs surged by 582,000. That represents about two-thirds of the increase in employment last month and is larger than the drop in the number of unemployed. That’s why the U-6 stayed at 14.7% in September.

    So, while more people are working according to the household survey, and that is an undisputed positive, the quality of those jobs remains in question.

  2. If we take the U 6 data it still shows a decline over the past few months.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *