Government statistics are usually not that important, because over time variances and volatility and sampling anomalies even out. But in the month before what may be a world-historical election between two world views (socialism and freedom), it matters that we understand what those statistics are and aren't. The 7.8% unemployment figure comes from the household survey. Here is the month-over-month change in the household survey for employment in the US, which I discussed below, but want to include again to make a visual point:
Here is the month-over-month change in employment in the US in the establishment survey:
The establishment survey is obviously significantly less volatile and, hence, more reliable.
The upshot? The 873,000 jobs created in the household survey, which factors into the 7.8% unemployment rate, doesn't mean too much. The 114,000 jobs created in the establishment survey -- less than August, which in turn was less than July -- does mean something, and it isn't good for the direction of the economy.
That doesn't mean that Obama won't tout the 7.8% like a life preserver to keep himself from sinking after his dismal debate performance. And the MSM -- in which the innumerate lead the innumerate -- will go along.