Political Animal


October 05, 2012 8:44 AM Unemployment Rate Finally Drops Below 8%

By Ed Kilgore

Well, the September Jobs Report is out, and it’s pretty good for a change. Net job growth is pegged at 114,000 right on the nose of most predictions. But upward revisions for July (from 141k to 181k) and August (from 96k to 142k) were impressive.

The number you’ll hear most about, however, is the unemployment rate, which dropped to 7.8%, the lowest rate of the Obama presidency (as I mentioned yesterday might happen). There’s no big dive in workforce participation to explain it away, either.

I’ll have more about this when we get more expert analysis, but in general, this is moderately good news for the economy and even better political news for Obama, if only as an interruption of the self-congratulation of Republicans about Romney’s debate performance.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Ronald on October 05, 2012 8:50 AM:

    There's a HUGE psychological barrier broken by going 'under 8%'. It is hard to say, now, that the economy isn't improving, or that Obama hasn't been creating jobs.
    yes, yes...there will be the usual right wing bs...but this is very good news this morning for the President.

  • sjw on October 05, 2012 8:55 AM:

    This is indeed welcome news and will help turn the narrative away from the debate. I thought Obama's pivot yesterday was very well done.

    How the "new and improved" Romney -- who has again shape-shifted (this time into Moderate Mass. Mitt )-- will affect that narrative and the arc of the election remains to be seen. Has U.S. politics ever seen such a thing before? Jesus, the guy stands for EVERYTHING and NOTHING! It's amazing.

  • Daryl Cobranchi on October 05, 2012 9:09 AM:

    The big question is what little nit will the Repugs pick to criticize?

  • T2 on October 05, 2012 9:13 AM:

    having the rate nicely under 8% will be a confidence booster for all Americans (except Republicans) and will remove one of Romney's main campaign points....8% or above for all of Obama's term. If anyone was still wondering if the general economy is headed in the right direction, they now have their answer. And the revisions for July and Aug were startling, especially August..that's a big "revision".
    Just imagine how we'd be doing if Republicans had worked with Democrats to get the economy healthy, instead of obstructing every damn single attempt to do so.

  • Peter C on October 05, 2012 9:15 AM:

    @Daryl, I expect that the Republicans will say:

    that the BLS has jiggered the numbers to provide an 'October surprise' for Obama


    that the improvement shows that (because Romney has won the debate) people expect Romney to win an that confidence has boosted the economy.

  • berttheclock on October 05, 2012 9:25 AM:

    T2 writes, "instead of obstructing every damn single attempt to do so"

    Had only you been the President's debate coach and he had listened to you.

  • c u n d gulag on October 05, 2012 9:36 AM:

    Jeez, too bad!

    And here it is, only two days after Mitt kept bringing up how President Obama promised to get the unemployment rate down below 8%.

    I wonder if Mittens and Paulie will offer the President their congratulations?

    If this were W., they’d have rented out the floor of the NY Stock Exchange, had W. ride in in a Rolls, wearing a codpiece under his Brooks Brother suit, and make a speech under a “Mission Accomplished!” banner.

    President Obama will take it in stride.

    But I’m pretty sure Biden will rub Ryan’s face in Mitt’s comments!

  • OKDem on October 05, 2012 9:54 AM:

    On NPR this morning the analysis pointed out that the revision is largely, if not entirely, government jobs and I always found the government loses in the past two reports problematic.

    Consider that July and August are when local school boards are hiring back teachers. Most of these boards had been required to give worst case scenarios for hiring but state and most local revenues were rising, not falling as used for planning. I had always suspected that schools would push the unemployment rate under 8% if there was just a slow economy.

  • Gandalf on October 05, 2012 11:59 AM:

    Conservative heads explode as the jobless rate goes down in spite of their efforts to sabotage everything that could possibly done to deal with joblessness.