The U.S. unemployment rate in September was 9.1%, a terrible statistic and a symptom of a profoundly damaged economy. Anticipating Friday's jobs report, CNBC Squawk Box co-host and New York Times reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin wondered whether the bad economic news had already reached a point where it would be "almost impossible" for President Obama to be re-elected.
"Remember when people used to say for Obama to win, this was a year or two ago, it [the unemployment rate] had to be under 8%," Sorkin recalled. "For him to get unemployment, from now until the elections, under 8%, you have to create something on the order of 400,000 jobs a month.... which is, obviously, almost impossible."
Indeed, Friday's report showed a gain of just over 100,000 jobs -- not even enough to handle new entrants into the job market, let alone lower the unemployment rate. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the official jobless rate has been above 9% for 27 of the last 29 months, the most prolonged period of high unemployment since the Great Depression.
And, as NewsBusters' Julia Seymour noted yesterday, the President took office promising to add 4 million jobs by the end of 2010. But nearing the end of 2011, the Obama economy has lost 2.2 million jobs.