Presidential race heating up as unemployment numbers are released
Just four days until the election and the race for the White House is once again heating up as candidates grab hold of the latest jobs numbers that show mixed messages. YNN's Washington, D.C. bureau reporter Erin Billups has more on that.
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Despite Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath looming over the Presidential election, the latest unemployment figures out Friday gave candidates an excuse to pump up the rhetoric with just days to go.
Mitt Romney said, "He said he was gonna lower the unemployment rate down to 5.2 percent right now. Today we learn that it's actually 7.9 percent and that's nine million jobs short of what he promised."
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the unemployment rate has ticked up slightly from 7.8 percent in September to 7.9 in October, an increase Romney points to as evidence that President Obama's policies have hurt U.S. economic growth.
Romney said, "The same path we're on means $20 trillion in debt in four years. It means crippling unemployment continues."
But experts say the new numbers will have little impact on these last crucial days of the campaign.
"Having a tenth of a percent move in the unemployment rate. Is essentially not a change," said Elisabeth Jacobs, Brookings Institute Fellow.
U.S. Labor Secretary Hilda Solis says the report actually shows that 171,000 jobs were added to the economy in October, which is stronger than expected. She says the slight increase in the unemployment rate is evidence of more people entering the workforce, essentially putting themselves out there for work.
"It's a result of people actually looking for employment and they're encouraged. As this report indicates, it does tend to show a higher level of confidence," Solis said.
It's a silver lining the President was sure to tout at his campaign stops Friday.
Obama said, "This morning we learned that companies hired more workers in October than at any time in the last eight months."
And many experts say these latest unemployment figures are part of an overall trend of job growth, evidence the nation is recovering.
Jacobs said, "Recently we've really just seen the economy pick up in terms of what's happened to the labor market. People will try and turn math into politics, but in this case it really is just basic math."