Today’s positive jobs report offers further proof that the unremittingly bleak picture of the economy that Mitt Romney has been painting — and which he emphasized in Wednesday’s presidential debate — is incomplete and inaccurate.
Employers added 114,000 jobs in September, and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent, going below 8 percent for the first time in almost four years. The economy has added private sector jobs for the past 31 months, totaling 5.2 million jobs over that period.
But you wouldn’t know that by listening to Romney, who in his initial reaction to the jobs report ignored the headline gains and dismissed good news for American workers as “not what a real recovery looks like.” Unfortunately for the GOP candidate, very real economic improvements continue to rob him of his best attack lines.
During last week’s debate, Romney declared, “We’ve had 43 straight months with unemployment above 8 percent.” Romney won’t be able to repeat that zinger when he and Obama face off again in two weeks.
Nor can Romney disparage the president for presiding over a term of net employment loss. Romney lost that line late last month when the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics data showed that Obama is net positive for job creation, even after accounting for the president’s first few months in office, when the economy was still hemorrhaging hundreds of thousands of jobs a month because of the Bush-era recession.
Even without accounting for those revisions, today’s job report bolsters net job creation under Obama, to 663,000.
To be sure, unemployment is too high and economic growth too slow to quickly knock the unemployment rate down to the traditional “full employment” rate of about 5 percent. But any balanced look at today’s report and at economic improvements in recent years suggest that the 2009 stimulus, the successful auto industry rescue, and landmark financial regulatory reform, have put the economy on a firm path to full recovery.