Local economists react to unemployment numbers

National unemployment rate at 7.8 percent

HOUSTON - President Barack Obama's campaign received a significant boost after the U.S. unemployment rate fell below eight percent for the first time since January 2009.

The president claims the new numbers released for September is proof that his policies are working.

"This country has come too far to turn back now," he said.

Houstonians are reacting to the new numbers.

All across the Houston area, people see construction projects. It's a growing industry..

According to local experts, what the latest numbers don't show are the salaries of the employees taking these types of jobs, and they say that is what matters most.

Rice University's Stephen Klineberg said his research shows most Americans aren't feeling it.

"It's a powerful reminder of the divide. The economy is getting better, but the majority of Americans are not sharing that experience. They're not seeing it in their own lives," he said.

Klineberg said in his annual survey this year more Houstonians said they're having a difficult time paying for groceries.

Economists argue there's a reason for that. John Silva is a chief economist with Wells Fargo.

He said the unemployment rate simply came down because there was an unusual number of part-time workers, and while an improving economy is always good news, most voters will draw upon their own experiences, not statistics at the polls.

"Just jobs doesn't tell you what type of jobs, if the jobs have benefits if these jobs pay enough for someone to feed their family," he said.

The next jobs report is due out four days before the November election.

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