Related story: US jobless rate falls to 7.8 pct., 44-month low
Quick look: 5 ways to understand the jobs report
Today's news that the national unemployment rate has finally fallen below 8 percent may give a boost to President Obama's reelection campaign while his opponents contend on social media the government fudged the numbers.
Those numbers say the nation's unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent in September. The U.S. jobless rate has not been that low since January of 2009.
At first glance, a falling unemployment rate would bode well for President Obama as only a little more than one month remains before voters decide whether he gets to keep his job or whether former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will occupy the White House.
"Today's news should give us some encouragement," Obama said at rally held at Cleveland State University. "It shouldn't be an excuse for the other side to try to talk down the economy just to try to score a few political points."
Romney had other ideas. He responded to the news by asserting the lower jobless rate reflects a diminishing number of Americans looking for work, as opposed to finding paying jobs.
"These are tough times in this community," Romney told a rally outside a Virginia construction equipment store where he spoke after meeting laid-off coal miners. "We're going to bring back jobs and bring back America."
The Labor Department's numbers, however, show the size of the U.
The official unemployment rate excludes Americans who have did not look for work for personal reasons, work part-time because full-time jobs are not available or are too discouraged to even ty finding a job. Including those numbers in the calculation would push September's unemployment rate up to 14.7 percent.
Others went further than Romney in questioning the jobs report, as did former General Electric CEO Jack Welch who essentially accused the administration of lying about the jobs numbers in a widely circulated Tweet.
"Unbelievable jobs numbers ... these Chicago guys will do anything ... can't debate so change numbers," Welch wrote.
University of Redlands economist Johannes Moenius said the new numbers show some confusing patterns, but he did not see anything in the data to suggest the jobs report is blatantly false.
One reason for confusion is that one Labor Department's survey used to produce the report shows an increase of 114,000 nonfarm jobs. Another survey of households, however, shows total employment rose by 873,000 persons.
That's a big gap between the two numbers, and Moenius said it's possible the household survey may reflect large numbers of people reporting work at a family business or by attempting to start their own enterprise.
He expects more clarity in two weeks, when state officials release more localized data.
"That should give us some insight as to where this job creation really happened," he said.