msnbc | October 05, 2012
>>> another october surprise , this one a major victory for president obama . unemployment dipped below 8%. did the president just fulfill his biggest promise? is this still a one-term proposition for republicans? i'm thomas roberts . the agenda this hour, an unemployment report nobody seemed to expect but this reports puts the wind at the president's back today. both candidates speaking in virginia at this hour on the heels of a job report that shows unemployment at its lowest in years. 7.8% is the number for september, and that is the lowest monthly number since the president took office in january of '09.
>> i don't think we should focus on the politics today. this is obviously showing we continue to recover from a horrible recession.
>> politically --
>> what matters is that headline number with the seven handle as they say on the street. 7.8%, right? whatever the reason, the president can now say i've brought the unemployment rate below 8%.
>> these numbers seem to have a bigger impact on the tone of coverage for a day or two on the campaign, but the public sort of is already absorbed the economy through their own prism.
>> we are keeping our eye on two different things. we will get reaction from the president who will speak live at george mason university , and then mitt romney will kick off a campaign event within the hour as well in the southwestern virginia town of of aiavington. 86,000 more jobs added in july and august than previously thought. total unemployment rose by 873,000 jobs last month. that is the biggest one-month increase in nearly 30 years. will these new numbers mean lights out for romney 's post debate afterglow? new ads kat aare catered to critical inting states. joining me live is jan schakowsky . congresswoman, it's great to have you here. business pioneer jack welch basically calls these numbers into question. had this remark that he tweeted out earlier today saying, unbelievable jobs numbers. these chicago guys will do anything, can't debate, so change numbers. what do you say to that? even the white house though right now this morning reluctant to spike the football on this. in their statement saying it is critical we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle cla class as we dig our way out of a deep hole. what is your response to those questioning the validity?
>> that's really interesting because i happened to see one of those chicago guys last night. i was with david axelrod . i asked him what do you expect about the jobs numbers? he says, i really don't know. we're hoping it will be good. so, you know, it doesn't surprise me that romney supporters are now going to take this very good news for the economy and for americans and say somehow the books were cooked. they just cannot stand, and they haven't been able to tolerate any good news about the economy, that somehow -- they've got to put a spin on it. so this is excellent news. i want to tell you, i will trade a not so great performance in a debate for great job numbers in terms of how this affects the american economy and the american people .
>> congresswoman, the romney campaign has issued their own statement saying this isn't a real recovery. saying, if not for all the people who have simply dropped out of the labor force , the real unemployment rate would be closer to 11%. the results of president obama 's failed policies are staggering, 23 million americans struggling for work, nearly one in six living in poverty. there are 12.1 americans out of work, many of those jobs added though were part time and the number of people with part. time jobs seeking full-time employment did rise but what would you say to those who say i'm still out of work, i'm still struggling in this economy and this just isn't enough?
>> that's, of course, why the obama administration is not spiking the ball tonight. but we are finally beginning to clean up the mess that was created under the bush administration and the blind eye that was turned to wall street , and, of course, romney is trying to change his story, too. in the debate he said, oh, i'm not against regulating wall street . really? they're for repealing the dodd/frank bill, creating the stage that would actually take us back to where we were at the hemorrhaging of jobs. we're finally beginning to turn the corner.
>> when we look at what we saw on wednesday night, the president certainly under fire for this less than dynamic performance, some questioning whether he entered this debate under prepared and over confident. as we pointed out at the top of the show, you are vice chair of the obama campaign , did you president underestimate his opponent and did it take the wind out of your sails for the work you're doing for the president to get re-elected.
>> i'll tell you what, it's really hard to argue against somebody who shows up with totally new proposals that says, oh, he loves teachers and last week he said obama wants to hire more teachers and i'm not for that. that suddenly he's for -- he's not for cutting taxes on the top earners in this country, on the wealthy, and, of course, his whole proposal is denying that he has a proposal that would cut taxes by $5 trillion. there's a name to that proposal. he printed it out. the analysis that was done was based on a romney proposal that now he says he doesn't know what obama is talking about. it's utterly amazing, hard to debate somebody who has totally different plans than he really has said in the past.
>> does this mean the president has fulfilled his promise to get unemployment below 8% and this isn't a one-term proposition?
>> you know, you can't deny the numbers. 7.8% is, in fact, lower than 8%, and that's kind of the benchmark that the republicans have laid out. i'm sure they are extremely disappointed that there are better job numbers in the united states of america because they have been trying to sabotage any efforts, every day i see it in the congress, they have been trying to sabotage any efforts that would actually make the economy better, and now they're just going to have to live with that number. they'll spin it any way they want, but there it is.
>> i think bill clinton would call this number lower, just simple arithmetic. jan schakowsky , thank you for joining me this morning.
>> and happy birthday to you.
>> thank you. thank you so much. we want to show you those numbers, 7.8% unemployment, the low nest nearly to yours. employers adding nearly 114,000 new jobs. the 7.8% rate is the same as when president obama took office back in january of '09. now, it claimed to 10% in october of that year before then starting to fall. last month unemployment dropping among adult men and women and also in teens, but it's still a whopping 23.7% for that last group. now, here is how we break it down. it dropped among whites, african- americans , hispanics, and asians, but unemployment among african- americans and hispanics remains well above the national average. joining me now is cbs contributor ron insana who is also host of a syndicated radio program called the market scoreboard report and with us from waution, jared bernstein, former economist for joe biden . it's good to have you here. jared , i start with you. as we look at these numbers, is this a true game changer for the president?
>> it certainly helps. i mean, this month's decline in the unemployment rate that you have been talking about from 8.1% down to 7.8%, that's the good kind of decline in unemployment because it came from a lot more people getting jobs. if you recall back last month, i was sitting in this chair telling you that the decline in unemployment from 8.3% to 8.1% was illusory. it tells you, as i said, more people came into the job market and got jobs. but it also tells you that the monthly surveys are volatile. however, i think there's other evidence in this report, perhaps we can get into it, that shows some momentum moving in the right direction. the pace of employment growth appears to be accelerating in the payroll survey as well.
>> ron, i want to ask you about jack welch 's tweet about the books basically being cooked. you know, he's a ge pioneer. we know him well around 30 rock .
>> jack is an old boss, a very good friend, a mentor, a variety of other things. when you study the bureau of labor statistics , the unit of the labor department that puts these numbers together, these are effectively career bureaucrats that serve a number of presidents. when you look at the household survey where you mentioned 840 some odd thousand jobs were created, they call 50,000 homes a month and compile the data. as jared was saying, the size of the labor force increased by 40,000. the number of people who got jobs increased by over 840,000, hence the drop in the unemployment rate . first time in many months we have seen it fall.
>> reporter: but the total unemployment rose by 173,000 jobs last month. that's the biggest --
>> can i make a comment on this, thomas?
>> let me make one point. i'm going to say this very starkly. jack welch should be ashamed of himself. there is absolutely no way the bureau of labor statistics cooks these numbers. they have tremendous integrity. i'm sorry he doesn't like the direction of the numbers. i will very much, as i said, admit that these numbers jump around from month to month, they do, but to say that these books are cooked is terribly obfuscating and completely wrong.
>> can we show what the numbers are doing on wall street right now. i want to get ron's look at this.
>> pretty good reaction so far.
>> for sure. we see green arrows across the board so far this morning today. let's talk about the revisions that we've seen because we were talking earlier before we started the show that these can go either way , and --
>> and they often do.
>> and they often do.
>> during recoveries, you tend to get upward revision in prior numbers, whether it's the last couple months, or as the labor department does every year, there's a set of benchmark revisions to prior data that go back even a couple years. we saw that over the last year or so. 400,000 jobs more were created. during recessions you get downward revisions to the data you receive on a monthly basis. as jared said, they're volatile numbers and it takes some time to confirm the estimates that we get on a monthly basis.
>> jared , mitt romney has put out a statement today saying this is not what a real recovery looks like. there are people, you know, nonpartisan out there that will say we are in a recovery. it might not be a booming recovery, but we are below that psychological benchmark of 8% right now. is the wind at the president's back on this number?
>> very much so. certainly the momentum suggests that, in fact, this is unfolding very much as you'd expect in a recovery with relatively slow growth , by the way. i mean, there are different types of recoveries. there's "v" shaped recoveries where you bounce back and have gdp growing at 3%, 4%, 5%. we have had the economy growing around 2% year-over-year and that's helping to provide some wind at the back, keep the economy moving in the right direction. the labor market is clearly improving. frankly, many of us -- i'm sure the president as well would like to see it improving more quickly. but it's unquestionably a recovery, unquestionably moving in the right direction. should it be moving there more quickly? would we like to see that? absolutely. but no question there's positive momentum.
>> economists and the cbo have given the projection of roughly 12 million jobs to be added over the next four years. this was the big talking point for mitt romney is he will create these jobs during his presidency. but this is already an established number. that this is coming on the economic path that we're already on.
>> effectively, yes. and the private economists and the cb o economists in their budget estimates have put this number out there. and, yeah, the path would allow for that, although we've only recaptured 5 million jobs of the 8 million lost in the recession in the last three or four years. so we don't know what that number is actually, thomas. it could be 12 million, it could be another 4 million. it really depends on a couple of things. will this economy continue to move? will it gain momentum? will europe and china derail global economic growth ? is there a geopolitical event that slows things down and drives oil prices higher? we don't know. the estimate is that over the next four years 12 million jobs or so will be created.