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Presidential Candidates Latch Onto Latest Job Numbers

President Obama; Mitt Romney, GOP challenger. (Brendan Hoffman, Justin Sullivan, respectively/Getty Images)

President Obama; Mitt Romney, GOP challenger. (Brendan Hoffman, Justin Sullivan, respectively/Getty Images)

Jay Levine Jay Levine
Jay Levine is the chief correspondent for CBS 2 Chicago. He joined...
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(CBS) — October job numbers, the last major piece of economic news before the election, set off a long-distance debate between the presidential candidates Friday.

There were more jobs out there, but also more people looking for them.

And both candidates tried to use that fact to their advantage.

In Franklin County, Ohio, President Obama touted the new job numbers: unemployment up slightly from 7.8 to 7.9 percent, with 171,000 jobs created, as proof his strategy was working.

But Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said unemployment is higher today than when Obama took office.

Mesirow Financial’s Diane Swonk agrees either side can spin the latest numbers.

“More people are throwing their hat in the ring, and looking again — there’s hope,” she tells CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine. “They see enough activity out there, enough churn in the market. Then they can actually get a job. That’s the good news. The bad news is its still 7.9 percent, which is way too high.”