8:55 am Sep. 7, 2012
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a gain of 96,000 jobs in August, slightly lower than analysts had predicted, which continues a stretch of middling economic growth after some encouraging months earlier in the year.
The unemployment rate fell from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent.
The monthly report released on Friday was particularly conspicuous, as it came less than 12 hours after President Obama formally accepted the Democratic nomination and made the case to voters that the economy was slowly recovering from the depths of the recession. Obama had reportedly been briefed on the numbers prior to his speech, which asked Americans to be patient with a recovery that he said could take years.
Two industries the president focused on in the speech—manufacturing and autos—fell slightly, with manufacturing losing 15,000 jobs in August, and the auto industry shedding 8,000, which partly offset gains in July.
Democrats had already tamped down expectations for a post-convention "bounce" in the polls, and Republicans were quick to pounce on the numbers, in the hopes of quickly returning the campaign to a conversation about the struggling economy.
“If last night was the party, this morning is the hangover," said Mitt Romney, in a statement that promised to create 12 million new jobs in his first term alone.
“Just hours after President Obama asked America for a second term, we received a clear reminder that he has yet to keep his number one promise to fix the economy,” said Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, in a statement. “The indisputable message of today’s job report: We’re not creating jobs fast enough, and we’re certainly not better off than we were four years ago. Time is up Mr. President."