In response to Friday’s jobs report, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney focused on the fact that the unemployment rate increased slightly as more people entered the workforce, arguing that the economy was not improving.
And in a speech billed as his “closing argument,” the Republican presidential candidate argued that a second Obama term could mean a second recession.
Obama “said that the unemployment rate would now be 5.2 percent; today we learned that it is 7.9 percent — it is 9 million jobs short of what he promised,” Romney said in West Allis, Wis. “Unemployment is higher today than when Barack Obama took office.” (The 5.2 percent number is misleading; it comes from a report on the potential impact of a stimulus package, written by two Obama advisers in early 2009.)
Pointing to “20 trillion in debt, crippling unemployment, stagnant take-home pay, depressed home values, and a devastated military,” Romney concluded, “Unless we change course, we may be looking at another recession.”
In a statement earlier in the day, Romney described the economy as “at a virtual standstill.”
“Today’s increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill,” the Republican presidential candidate said in a statement. “The jobless rate is higher than it was when President Obama took office, and there are still 23 million Americans struggling for work. On Tuesday, America will make a choice between stagnation and prosperity.”
The unemployment rate rose to 7.9 percent, up from 7.8 percent, but that’s because 578,000 more Americans counted themselves as part of the labor force while only 410,000 more people reported having a job. However, the rate of job creation remains well below its level at the start of 2012.