There has been much speculation and consternation over Friday’s release of the October jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Will unemployment continue to drop, giving Obama support for his claims that “things are getting better?” Will the number jump back over 8%, allowing the GOP to preach their “We can’t afford four more years” message? Those questions can now be answered as the BLS October data is such that both sides will claim victory, causing little to change in the minds of most voters.

The report shows the U.S. economy added 171,000 non-farm payroll jobs in October, up from 148,000 in the adjusted September numbers. However, due to more people re-entering the job search market, the overall unemployment rate increased slightly to 7.9%. While the number remains under 8% for the second straight month, it is back up over the 7.8% rate when President Obama took office back in January 2009.

Some interesting statistics of note are the long-term unemployment numbers (those without work for more than 27 weeks) and the average job growth over the past two years. The number of Americans suffering without a job for more than 27 weeks stayed the same at around 5 million people. The average job creation number for 2012 stands at 157,000 per month, compared to 153,000 per month in 2011. In other words, there seems to be very little improvement in the past year, much less the past four years.

In a press release distributed Friday morning, Mitt Romney made the following statement regarding the jobs news:

Today’s increase in the unemployment rate is a sad reminder that the economy is at a virtual standstill. The jobless rate is higher than it was when President Obama took office, and there are still 23 million Americans struggling for work. On Tuesday, America will make a choice between stagnation and prosperity. For four years, President Obama’s policies have crushed America’s middle class.

For four years, President Obama has told us that things are getting better and that we’re making progress. For too many American families, those words ring hollow. We can do better. We can have real economic growth, create millions of good-paying jobs, and give middle-class families the security and opportunity they deserve. When I’m president, I’m going to make real changes that lead to a real recovery, so that the next four years are better than the last.”

As of 9:30am on Friday, there has been no statement from the Obama campaign. Don’t expect that to last, as this is too important a news story for the White House to sit on. They will not allow people to make their own conclusions without attempting to spin these numbers in a positive manner.

But the question remains, will this have an effect on Tuesday’s election? Doubtful. The needle did not move enough in one direction or the other to change the mind of someone undecided at this point. There does not appear to be any huge October or November surprise, as some expected. That means whatever has been trending for the last few months is likely to continue. Again, that appears to be bad news for the President.

Original article authored by Dave Dorsey on