The unexpected uptick in employment could be a major benefit to Obama. A recent Associated Press-GfK poll found that the vast majority of voters already have settled on a candidate, but 17 percent of likely voters are considered persuadable — either because they're undecided or showing soft support for Obama or Romney. Roughly 56 percent of persuadables approve of the way Obama is handling his job as president, but fewer, 47 percent, approve of his handling of the economy.
Romney argued Friday that the change in the unemployment rate was nothing to celebrate given the millions of people in part-time jobs, those seeking better jobs and those who remain out of work.
"This is not what a real recovery looks like," Romney said shortly after the Labor Department released its report. "We created fewer jobs in September than in August, and fewer jobs in August than in July, and we've lost over 600,000 manufacturing jobs since President Obama took office."
By evening Romney wasn't talking about the jobs report and returned to relishing his good reviews from the debate more than 67 million people watched on TV. He told more than 5,000 people at the rally in St. Petersburg: "I enjoyed that debate a couple nights ago. That was a great experience."
AP White House Correspondent Ben Feller and Associated Press writer Julie Pace contributed to this report.
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