The 12 million jobs has been my forecast for quite some time," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics.
Zandi is in the economic forecasting business, and he expects the economy to add an average of 3 million jobs a year over the next four years, which would total 12 million jobs.
Zandi adds that he doesn't know who will win the presidency. And for the purposes of this projection, it doesn't much matter.
"Cold hard facts. Politics completely aside. I'm just doing the numbers," says Zandi. "I feel confident that we're going to create 12 million jobs over the next four years and we're going to feel a lot better about this economy, regardless of who is president."
What makes him so confident? A lot of modeling and a deep dive into industry-level economic data. In particular, he expects the housing market to finally break out of the deep freeze it's been in since the financial crisis hit.
"The housing cycle's going to kick into gear. A lot more homes are going to be built, office buildings, retail space. House prices are going to rise," says Zandi. "That's going to lift consumer spending and retailing and leisure and hospitality, and this is going to create a lot of jobs."
Zandi isn't the only one predicting robust job growth. Joel Prakken, senior managing director of Macroeconomic Advisers, forecasts 11 million jobs added over the next president's term.
"That is not based on anyone's particular set of economic policies," Prakken adds.
When he first heard Romney's 12 million jobs claim, Prakken says he scurried to his calculator. And what he found was Romney's campaign promise fit well with broad economic trends.