Barack Obama's hopes of holding on to the White House have received a major boost from new figures showing that the US unemployment rate has dropped below 8% for the first time since he took office in January 2009.
The US added 114,000 new jobs in September, in line with expectations. But August's disappointing jobs figure was dramatically revised upwards from 96,000 to 142,000, helping to bring the unemployment rate down to 7.8%.
"Today, I believe that as a nation we are moving forward again," Obama told a raucous campaign rally in Fairfax, Virginia, on Friday a few hours after the figures were published. "This morning, we found out that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since I took office."
~ from September Jobs Report a Huge Boost for Obama as Unemployment Rate Tumbles by Dominic Rushe ~
Numbers and figures -- when presented out of context -- can be made to dance on the head of a pin! The figure of 114,000 new jobs looks promising when you fail to note the number of jobs needed to keep pace with an ever growing population.
I've noticed recently that news outfits don't present this latter bit of information as frequently as they used to. Without knowing how many jobs need to be created each month to avoid falling behind, figures like 114,000 are meaningless.
The press quotes all sorts of figures for the number of monthly job gains needed to keep up with population growth. We see numbers like 80,000, 100,000, 125,000 and 175,000 thrown around like statistical snow as the number of jobs needed each month just to keep up. What's the right one? How many jobs are needed each month just to keep up with population growth?
The actual monthly amount can be calculated and the Atlanta Fed even did us a huge favor by publishing an interactive monthly jobs calculator so you can go check for yourself. This month [September] shows we need 104,116 payroll jobs to maintain the same unemployment rate of 8.1% with all of the other same terrible conditions the state of employment is in.
That's the key, the current terrible conditions the state of employment is in today. One of the reasons the number of jobs to keep up with population growth is so low is due to so many having dropped out of the labor force. If we had more people being counted as needing a job, the number of jobs to keep up with population growth would be much higher.
~ from How Many Jobs Are Needed to Keep Up with Population Growth? by Robert Oak ~
Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has charged that the Bureau of Labor Statistics is manipulating the job numbers to benefit President Obama's reelection bid. In this case, Romney is correct. The numbers and statistics are being monkeyed with.
But Mr. Romney won't press his case too hard because these same numbers and statistics were jimmied during the reign of Republican President George W. Bush. If Romney wins the election -- which most likely won't happen -- you can rest assured that his administration would screw with the numbers and statistics in the same manner.
In this regard, what we have here is a bipartisan agreement to treat the doctored numbers as if they are the real numbers. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why. If the American electorate knew the genuine unemployment rate -- something in the neighborhood of 15 - 20 percent -- they would vote all the bums out of office!
Heck, the docile American populace might even take to the streets like our counterparts in Europe.
To insure this will not happen, they present us with "feel good" employment numbers. It's sort of like a lullaby.