The American economy added 114,000 jobs in September. The unemployment rate dropped to 7.8 percent — a level not seen since Obama was sworn in on January 20, 2008.
Explaining the numbers are Charlie Herman, economics editor for WNYC Radio, and two small business owners. Doug Pettigrew is owner of the computer support company Electronic Brain Solutions in Michigan, and Nadeem Mazen is the CEO of nimblebot.com and an instructor at MIT’s Sloan Entrepreneurship Center.
These numbers are a positive sign for the economy, not just because unemployment has dropped below 8 percent, but because jobs were actually created.
"To be counted as unemployed, you have to be actively looking for a job," Herman explains. "If you stop looking for that job, you're not considered part of the workforce any more, and that's a trend we've been seeing for several months in a row." The number of jobs created then, is perhaps a more important number to consider than the falling unemployment rates. This means that people are actually being hired, rather than just giving up.
Doug Pettigrew and Nadeem Mazen confirm this as small business owners themselves, both saying that they've been able to hire new employees.
"I'm picking up a lot more work — more than I can handle," Pettrigrew says. "I'm adding a couple other folks in to do some work."
Nadeem Mazen too says that he's seen more work in his own business. "From where we were in the recession, there's really no place to go but up," he says. "For us, it was just a matter of time. We were just being patient." In the last year, Mazen's business has grown significantly, from 3 employees to 8.
Charlie Herman says this could be a sign that the tables are turning - and indeed, the jobs report could have consequences for the election in November. "For the Obama campaign, it gives them something to try and at least change the conversation away from the debate earlier this week, and say, 'Look, we are succeeding on the economy.'"