(Photo: Reuters/Brian Snyder)
Speaking to supporters in Florida on Saturday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney indicated new labor data showing a drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent in September may not be true, and if calculated differently, it could be as high as 11 percent.
"If we calculated, by the way, our unemployment rate in a way that was consistent with the way it was calculated when he came into office, it would be a different number," Romney told a crowd of over 6,000 people in Apopka, Florida, on Saturday night.
"You see, if the number of people – if the percentage of the American population who were in the workforce were the same today as the day he was elected, our unemployment rate would be above 11 percent. This is inexcusable," Bloomberg quoted the former Massachusetts governor as saying.
Labor Department data released Friday showed a drop in the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent in September, the lowest since Barack Obama took office in January 2009.
Romney thinks the decline in the unemployment rate can be attributed to numerous people giving up on their job searches, and not to jobs creation.
Romney added that Obama didn't know how to fix the economy. "I know how, and I will get the job done."
However, Obama, who was seen as having lost the Wednesday's debate to Romney, touted donation figures Saturday. His campaign announced that he and allied Democratic Party committees raised $181 million last month, the largest monthly total thus far this election season.
On Friday, the GOP candidate also said in a fundraising message to supporters there was a jobs crisis. "By any rational measure, it's crystal clear we're in the middle of a jobs crisis," The Associated Press quoted him as saying. My priority is jobs. And from day one of my presidency, I will lead us out of this crisis."
Meanwhile, Obama took credit for the projected employment gains. He said at a Fairfax, Va., rally the creation of 114,000 jobs last month as well as the decline in unemployment were "a reminder that this country has come too far to turn back now. We've made too much progress to return to the policies that caused this crisis in the first place."
A recent research measure from Gallup also indicated that the actual unemployment rate could be much worse than the official figures. Unlike the government, Gallup doesn't count part-time workers or those who are self-employed to give a clearer picture.
Government figures are able to artificially show lower unemployment rates by lumping "good" jobs with "bad" jobs, wrote Gallup CEO Jim Clifton on his blog. A good job refers to at least 30 hours of work a week with a real paycheck. A bad job, on the other hand, is informal or a form of menial self-employment, he explained.
According to Gallup's Payroll to Population measure, 41 percent of American adults were employed last year, as opposed to the Labor Department showing the employment-to-population rate at 58 percent.