US jobs report not a 'real recovery': Romney
Mitt Romney disputed the upbeat news from a US government jobs report Friday, saying the drop in unemployment from 8.1 to 7.8 percent was a result of people leaving the work force.
"This is not what a real recovery looks like," the Republican White House hopeful said in a statement released as he headed to a "coal country" campaign event in the political battleground of Virginia.
The Labor Department's fresh data for September showed only 114,000 jobs were generated last month, but revisions to the numbers for July and August, showing many more jobs were produced and fewer people dropping out of the workforce, helped cut the overall jobless rate.
President Barack Obama seized on the data as evidence that the economy is slowly but surely recovering from the devastating recession that had helped keep the unemployment rate above 8.0 percent for the duration of his presidency.
"Today, I believe that as a nation we are moving forward again," Obama told a university rally, also in Virginia.
But Romney was having none of it.
"There were fewer new jobs created this month than last month," he told a crowd of more than 3,000 in Abingdon, in Virginia's southwest corner.
"The reason it's come down this year is primarily due to the fact that more and more people have just stopped looking for work," added Romney, who spoke from a truck's flatbed trailer.
"If you just drop out altogether, why you're no longer part of the employment statistics, so it looks like unemployment's getting better. But the truth is, if the same share of people were participating in the work force today as on the day that the president got elected, our unemployment rate would be around 11 percent."
Romney also pointed to the loss of more than 600,000 manufacturing jobs since Obama took office.
"That's the real reality of what's happening out there."
Romney's running mate Paul Ryan issued a statement calling the jobs report "a sad indictment of the diminished expectations under President Obama.
"For those able to find work this month, any job growth is welcome, but this number is once again well below what is needed for America to meet its economic potential," Ryan said.
"We should not have to settle for this new normal."