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wundayatta's avatar

873,000 employment increase in September! 114,000 new jobs! Unemployment falls to 7.8%! How will this impact the election?

Asked by wundayatta (58525points) October 5th, 2012

According to, it’s a stunning jobs report. Coming on the heels of a horrible debate performance, this couldn’t show up at a better time for the President.

But what do you think? Is it all fakery? Or is it a game changer?

Ten lashes with a wet noodle to me for using that shameful cliche.

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63 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I am hoping that it breathes new life into the post-debate President.

Nullo's avatar

I think it’s likely that those figures are true when viewed from a specific angle – within a state, for instance, or in an economic sector.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Which Cliché ?

It will probably greatly increases the President’s chances for re-election. The numbers are realistic and show up as population areas that are having increased business. Housing prices in my area have increased and the inventory of houses has dropped.

PhiNotPi's avatar

I think it will have a larger impact than the debate. Newer events will almost always overwrite anything that happened before them. That also means that if the numbers were released before the debate, than they would not have much of an impact.

Also, can someone provide a direct link to the Slate article?

wonderingwhy's avatar

July and August were revised by a combined +86,000 jobs as well. But there are still 12.1 million unemployed. 873K number comes from the BLS household survey vs the payroll survey the former of which typically finds higher numbers because it has a broader definition of employment. So while it’s a nice number it may be inflated by definition and the nearly 600k gain in part timers this month. Regardless we’re talking a decade plus to get back to where we were at these rates.

What’s it mean for the election? It’s unquestionably good for Obama; anything positive in jobs, housing, economy will be magnified in helping him win particularly this close to election time. I’m not sure how much he can get from those numbers especially the 873K one but unless people dig into it a little it makes for a nice headline to say his efforts are working and probably one voters will remember.

I like Obama’s initial spin of it with the ”more work to do” statement. Romney’s ”not what a recovery looks like” sounds flat, particularly when backed with nothing more than the 600k manufacturing job losses figure.

rojo's avatar

I predict it will be hailed as second only the the coming of the Messiah by the Dems and reviled as smoke and mirrors by the Reps while the Indys reserve the right to be both hopeful and skeptical.

tedd's avatar

Look if anyone thinks this is a huge win for Obama, you’re just as ignorant as the people who thought the debate was a huge one for Romney.

In the long run, one jobs report isn’t going to make a difference. What will make a difference is a trend of positive jobs reports, which is what Obama does have going for him.

This may take some wind out of Romney’s sails from the debate, heck it may even turn around the campaign again all together (though I suspect it will take at least one more pro-obama event happening to do so), but in the grand scheme of things this isn’t all that important.

Qingu's avatar

@Nullo, you can think that, but you’d be wrong. I also think it’s interesting that you have never expressed skepticism before about previous BLS job reports data.

wundayatta's avatar

Sorry, I wrote slate, but it was salon .com.

Nullo's avatar

@Qingu I’m pretty sure that I haven’t said much in job reports Qs in general. Maybe I’m being gloomy about my own job. And the timing seems convenient.

wundayatta's avatar

@tedd I think the debate was an enormous win for Romney, and we’ll see that in the poll results in a day or two, unless it is ameliorated by these numbers. I think the traditional wisdom was that debates don’t matter so much. And 538 author did a little analysis yesterday leading him to predict a 2.2 point change in the poll results in Romney’s favor.

But I think this debate was different. I think Romney really surprised a lot of people, including Democrats, and that his performance was so good that it will lead people to respond emotionally instead of on facts. He seemed very presidential and he also seemed reasonable. He did not seem like an ideologue. It seemed like he was finally turning towards the middle and that he meant it. He knew what it would take to govern, and he wasn’t going to do those radical things he’s been talking about.

Now if he could make me feel that way, and I’m a hard core Democrat, imagine how he made the undecideds feel? I think we dismiss the impact of this debate at our peril. And that’s why today’s jobs news is so important, although not as impactful at the debate.

What’s even more important, is that Obama has to expose Romney either as a liar or as a flipflopper. He has to show him as a snake oil salesman. If he can’t do that, this race is a hell of a lot closer than we thought.

Qingu's avatar

@Nullo, do you actually know anything about how the BLS calculates these job reports? Or are you just saying “this news is good for Obama, therefore it’s probably an Obama conspiracy?”

You’d think that if Obama had the power to inflate BLS jobs reports he would have inflated them a lot more, and a lot earlier.

@wundayatta, I honestly wouldn’t worry about the debate until you see the poll numbers in the next few days. Democrats always want Obama to be out for blood, and he didn’t. So Dems are disappointed and think he “lost.” And Repubs like that Romney is aggressive so they think he “won.” So now there is this consensus among Dems and Repubs that Obama lost and Romney won. But Dems and R’s don’t matter—undecideds do, and there has been very little good polling about how they have responded to this debate. If they even watched it or cared. Romney did come off as an aggressive jerk and many undecideds panned Al Gore in 2000 for just this reason.

wundayatta's avatar

I hope you’re right, @Qingu.

emilianate's avatar

On the surface, it should give a boost to Obama. In details, the numbers are misleading. Here is a thorough analysis

Ron_C's avatar

I know that my company has orders from all over the world and we have almost doubled the number of employees. I note that this was done without consideration of a tax reduction from a Pres. Romney.

Our main problem is trying to find people qualified to work with PLC and computer HMI and networked control systems.

Many of our customers sell to the auto industry which has has a 13% increase in sales so I believe the employment figures and believe they will help Obama.

It is possible that the debate performance for Obama is a strategy. Let Romney talk himself deep into lies and extremely poor policy then zap in in the last debate to finish him off.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@Ron_C Hm. A strategy. I didn’t think of that!

DrBill's avatar

it might help a little, but historically, no president has ever won re-election with an unemployment rate above 7.2

Pandora's avatar

I’ve always thought the whole number system is hogwash. I grew up in New York City. There were plenty of people who collected unemployment or welfare and then held illegal jobs because that paid under the table because it was and I’m sure, still is expensive to live there. Small mom and pop stores can’t afford higher wages but still need the help, so they pay under the table. In warmer climates, many people do yard work as their business and only take cash. Why, so they don’t have to report it and pay taxes. Same goes for computer work, & home repairs. My point is that there probably are plenty of people working that goes unreported. Before anyone thinks this is all illegal aliens, than think again. Most are home grown tax dodgers and some would pay taxes but their employer wants cheap labor and doesn’t want to pay insurance, medical and extra taxes and social security. There is also home day care.
I bet if they all every got counted up it would be half the numbers.

Qingu's avatar

@DrBill… except Reagan and FDR of course!

Don’t let facts stop you from your argument though…

DrBill's avatar

@Qingu ABC News disagrees with you

Don’t let facts stop you from your argument though…

Qingu's avatar

This isn’t a he-said she-said, @DrBill. We recorded the unemployment rate for those years.

In 1936 it was 16.8 percent.

In 1984 it was:

1984–01-01 8.0
1984–02-01 7.8
1984–03-01 7.8
1984–04-01 7.7
1984–05-01 7.4
1984–06-01 7.2
1984–07-01 7.5
1984–08-01 7.5
1984–09-01 7.3
1984–10-01 7.4
1984–11-01 7.2
1984–12-01 7.3

I guess you could say it was 7.2 in the month in which Reagan won re-election, but voters didn’t know the rate was 7.2 in November, since obviously it wouldn’t have been tabulated until the following month.

DrBill's avatar

Using your numbers, in November ‘84 (month of the election) the rate was 7.2 as noted in my original statement

Qingu's avatar

A number which did not exist on Nov. 4, 1986, when people voted. As I noted in the statement that you apparently didn’t read.

tedd's avatar

@DrBill @Qingu People have loved to point to the 7.2 number lately. No president has won re-election with numbers that high since FDR! Well no president has faced an economic crisis as large as this since him either. The economy is improving and people can see that. They obviously wish it was going faster, but no one except die-hard Republicans actually thinks we’re worse than we were 4 years ago, or that we’re getting worse and not better.

For historical prospective, since unemployment rates have been kept there have been 5 elections where the incumbent was up against a 7.2% or higher unemployment rate. Ford, Carter, and Bush 1 all lost. FDR and Reagan both won. Worth noting that FDR won three elections with the unemployment rate well above 10%.

DrBill's avatar

I just quoted a fact, don’t take it so personal. Calling names is not needed, although it is a tool for those who cannot make their case with facts. Just because I can see by the facts that we are a lot worse off now than four years ago is not justification to classify me as a diehard Republican, it just shows me you’re wrong on many levels.

Qingu's avatar

@DrBill, just to be clear: you didn’t quote a fact, because what you said was not true. Do you acknowledge you made a mistake?

I’m also curious as to how you can say we’re worse off now than we were four years ago. Do you remember what was happening in October 2008? I seem to recall global financial crisis, plunging employment, people taking all their cash out of the banks, a worldwide credit freeze, etc… are you talking about the same universe that I live in?

tedd's avatar

@DrBill I didn’t call anyone names. I dunno who really thinks being called a die-hard Republican is a bad-name, nor do I think you fall into that category. Misinformed maybe, but hardly a die-hard.

And the facts actually show that we are better in virtually every category than when Obama took office, even if you assume that all the job losses/economic trouble in the first 3–4 months was his fault (which it wasn’t since nothing he enacted was even in place yet).

Ron_C's avatar

I doubt that there is anyone left that is undecided. I suspect the question now is: “is it worth my time to vote”. If you are a ordinary Republican, you’re disheartened buy your candidate and if you are a progressive Democrat, you’re disheartened by your candidate.

Both groups are likely to forgo voting because the candidates are too similar.

So the election boils down to the die-hards on both sides. The trick will be to get enough enthusiasm so your party loyalists actually go out to vote. Here in Pennsylvania that means if the total voting percentage is low, Republicans win, if it is high, Democrats win (barring dirty tricks from the voting machine people).

My guess is that Romney will win. I may be a Canadian this time next year.

Qingu's avatar

@Ron_C, you think the candidates are similar?

One wants to repeal ACA, the other wants to uphold it.

One wants to raise taxes on the rich, the other wants to slash them and cut spending on the poor.

One wants to spend 2 trillion more on defense spending and project a neoconservative “imperial” America around the world, the other does not.

One will appoint conservative SCOTUS judges, the other will appoint liberal judges.

I mean, how exactly do you think they are similar? On almost every important issue they are different. Or do you just think these issues are not really important?

Ron_C's avatar

@Qingu I just said that they “look” similar, at least during the debate. Romney went through the whole debate without telling the truth. Therefore he looked like a white Obama.
I know that Romney would be the worst thing to happen since Reagan but most people don’t understand that.

Qingu's avatar

Ahhhhh. Sorry. :)

Ron_C's avatar

@Qingu You gave a good answer and have nothing to be sorry about. I wasn’t that clear in my previous answer.

DrBill's avatar

There are to many political diehards here and in the general public that are going to support their candidate because of their party affiliation and not on the person.

No matter which party they are, they defend the idiocy of there party, and make a point of exaggerating their oppositions every flaw. Very few are looking at both candidates on their own merits. If there were, all the crap above would not be there, they are pointing out the flaws of one, and praising the other, when the truth (I know that is a dirty word) is they all have there good and bad points.

We would all be better off without political parties, to force people to decide their vote by looking at the person rather than deciding based on what party they claim allegiance.

Qingu's avatar

@DrBill, why are you changing the subject?

Are you going to acknowledge your mistake?

DrBill's avatar

If there was one, I would, but there is no error I am aware of except stepping on the toes of some overly sensitive people.

Qingu's avatar

So you don’t think that FDR won re-election with 16.8 percent unemployment?

And you think that unemployment was 7.2, not 7.4, when people actually went to the polls and voted for Reagan?

DrBill's avatar

I proved my point using numbers you supplied.

I also believe it is pointless to try present facts to a person who refuses to listen.

Qingu's avatar

@DrBill, you said “no president has ever won re-election with an unemployment rate above 7.2.”

The numbers I supplied directly refute this. Both FDR (16.8) and Reagan (7.4) did.

Do you disagree with the numbers I supplied? If so, why?

DrBill's avatar

no, you supplied 7.2 for the month Reagan was elected, you did not supply any numbers for FDR’s election month. try reading your own post.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@DrBill So, you’re saying that the unemployment suddenly dropped by more then 50% during the month of FDR’s reelection? Is that really what you’re arguing? That since @Qingu gave you the yearly number, and not the monthly number, that it’s somehow not applicable?

And @Qingu has stated, several times, that the known unemployment at the time of Reagan’s reelection was 7.4%.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Also, @DrBill, you never actually supplied any facts. You said ABC backed you up, but do you have any actual proof of this? If you do, then we can find the claim and see if it holds up.

Qingu's avatar

I said in 1936 unemployment was 16.8 percent. Are you disputing that it was above 7 percent in November of 1936, @DrBill ? Here’s some more information.

I think it’s pretty amazing that you’re incapable of admitting that you made a mistake.

DrBill's avatar

I think it is pretty amazing that you’re incapable of admitting that you made a mistake when I make a statement supported by your numbers.

tedd's avatar

@DrBill I gotta tell you, as much as @Qingu is being an ass about it, he is very clearly in the right here.

DrBill's avatar

then I suggest this immature attack be made towards ABC News who aired the report.

Qingu's avatar

@DrBill, just to be clear, can we understand your attempt to shift the blame to ABC News as an admission that you were wrong?

DrBill's avatar

I reported accurately what ABC news reported. Truth is truth, no matter how you try to bend the facts.

Just because you are unable to disprove the facts does not make me wrong.

Qingu's avatar

@DrBill, so, just to be clear:

You dispute that the unemployment rate was around 16% in the 1936 election.

And you do not acknowledge that the rate was 7.4 when people voted for Reagan.

Because… you remember seeing a report on ABC that said otherwise.

Gotcha. Care to actually cite this report so I can check it out?

DrBill's avatar

The number I stated was 7.2, don’t try to make me wrong by changing my quote, even if it is the only way for you to be right.

Qingu's avatar

I know you said 7.2.

The unemployment rate when people voted for Reagan was 7.4.

7.4 is higher than 7.2.

So is 16. That was the rate when FDR got reelected.

What exactly are you confused about here, @DrBill?

Dutchess_III's avatar

Why do I enjoy these debates so much??!

DrBill's avatar


according to the numbers YOU posted above, in November (that is when the elections are held) the rate according to YOU was 7.2 not 7.4 as you are now claiming. It is pointless to discuss this with you since you keep changing your story instead of admitting YOUR mistake.

DrBill's avatar


Maybe you just enjoy the show. Have fun princess.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@DrBill But according to the information provided again and again, that number was not calculated until December, because that’s the way these numbers work. So, the known number in November was 7.4%. Do you deny this?

And do you deny that FDR was elected with a 16.8% unemployment?

DrBill's avatar

I do not deny the rate was 7.2 at the time of the election as I have said many, many times. Your FDR number is for the year, not November.

You are still wrong, no matter how you try to twist the facts.

BhacSsylan's avatar

So, you think the .2% is important, despite the fact that no one knew that it was 7.2% until after the election?

And so you deny that the unemployment was above 7.2% for FDR’s reelection, then, because @Qingu has not provided the specific number for November, despite the fact that it’s almost impossible for the rate for November to have been below 7.2%?

Also, how’s it going with finding a source for your claim?

Qingu's avatar

As far as I know, monthly data is not available for the era of the Great Depression. I suppose it’s possible that the unemployment rate dropped more than half during November of 1936.

Is this what you think happened, @DrBill? It was 16 or more for the rest of 1936 on average, but for some reason in November it dropped to 7.2 or lower?

DrBill's avatar

@BhacSsylan @Qingu
fact are facts, when we I talk about facts even 0.000001 makes a differance. As you stated “16 or higher” could easly accomidate a 7.2 and still average 16, also “almost impossible” is still Possible. ABC news is a public site anyone with a small talent can get to, do you really need a like to find it?

BhacSsylan's avatar

I search for it, @DrBill, and could not find it. Do you have a link? You’re the one making the claim. And you are straining credibility to make the claim that it dropped precipitously that month. If they’re right, they should have positive evidence to show that the employment was 7.2% during the election.

Qingu's avatar

@DrBill, I think you are confused about what a “fact” is. You seem to think that anything you say is a fact!

Why, that can’t be how facts work, because watch this:

“Dr. Bill stole $3,000 from charity. It’s a fact. I heard it on ABC News the other day.”

Now, you may point to “evidence,” like your bank records, that contradicts this supposed fact. And you may note that I am unable to cite any evidence for my assertion, or the ABC News report in question. But since I say it’s a fact, I guess we all have to believe it. Right? Or is it just when you say something is a fact?

DrBill's avatar

They broadcast it to the nation on the morning news

Unlike you, I do not post lies.

BhacSsylan's avatar

Any direct source? At all? If they made the claim, they must have some data to back it up, yes? Why not find the source so we can check how they made that claim despite all data about FDR’s presidency showing that it probably wasn’t the case.

It’s not like a news organization has never been shown to host wrong and misleading information before

BhacSsylan's avatar

Also, here’s a worthwhile read, which makes the rather salient point that unemployment numbers are highly misleading as far as predictors (and thus is on topic!). it should be noted that in my own searching, I can find literally no claim of “no president has won re-election with unemployment greater then 7.2%”. I can find plenty saying that that’s true since FDR, which i would give them though i agree with @Qingu that it is misleading giving the compiling. But still no mention of your claim, including searching ABC specifically. If I’m missing something, please let me know.

And for clarity, since you seem to have such trouble getting this, the main problem with your claiming that the numbers released after the fact of Reagan’s reelection mattering is that we’ll have no way to compare them until after the election. So it’s useless. the comparable numbers for Obama will not be out until December. At which point it will be entirely possible that it’s down to 7.2%. Unlikely, but far more possible then the rate having been being 7.2% for FDR’s reelections.

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