Jobs report important for presidential race

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - After President Obama's arguably lackluster performance in the debate, supporters started to fret that it could sway voters.

The president had been pulling ahead in the polls, but yesterday, he had to play defense in order to deal with GOP challenger Mitt Romney's stellar reviews.

And that is why today's jobs report must have felt like a wish come true at the White House.

"This morning we found out that the unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since I took office," Obama announced to thunderous applause.

The Labor Department says there are currently 12.1 million unemployed Americans – the fewest since January of 2009. Wages also rose in September, and more people started looking for work.  That's important because many had given up.

But Republicans, and some economists – like Wells Fargo's John Silvia – say Democrats shouldn't be too quick to celebrate.  Silvia attributes the decline in unemployment to a big rise in part-time workers. He also says about 118,000 people started reporting themselves as self-employed.  Both conditions are not considered as plumb as corporate jobs with benefits.

"I think it's actually kind of ridiculous that anybody would be celebrating this jobs report," says Robert Reid, North Carolina Communications Director for the Romney campaign. "This is not what a real recovery looks like. The jobs picture in this country is devastating. It has a real effect on a lot of people out there struggling to make ends meet and it shouldn't be used as a political football."