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U.S. jobless numbers provide fodder for both Obama, Romney

By Associated Press


WASHINGTON >> President Barack Obama received new jobs figures today to buttress his argument that he’s presiding over steady, if slow, economic growth. But the government’s report that the overall rate of unemployment actually crept up by one-tenth of a point allows Republican Mitt Romney to keep pressure on Obama to defend his record.

The new unemployment numbers show that private employers added 163,000 jobs in July, the best pace of hiring in five months. The jobless rate rose, however, to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent in June. 

July’s hiring was the best since February. Still, the economy has added an average of 151,000 jobs a month this year — enough to keep up with population growth but not enough to drive down the unemployment rate. 

“After a string of disappointing economic reports ... we’ll certainly take it,” said James Marple, senior economist at TD Economics.

Stocks rose sharply in early trading on Wall Street.

The government uses two surveys to measure employment. A survey of businesses showed job gains. The unemployment rate comes from a survey of households and is calculated by dividing the number of unemployed people by the size of the labor force. In July, more people said they were unemployed, while the size of the labor force shrank even more.

Economists say the business survey is more reliable.

Romney jumped on the jobless rate increase, calling the figures a “hammer blow” to middle-class families.

“We’ve now gone 42 consecutive months with the unemployment rate above 8 percent,” Romney said in a statement. “Middle-class Americans deserve better, and I believe America can do better.”

No U.S. president since World War II has been re-elected with unemployment above 8 percent.

White House economist Alan Krueger said today’s report was evidence that the economy is recovering.

“It is critical that we continue the policies that build an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007,” Krueger said.

Obama, while acknowledging that economic growth hasn’t come fast enough, has sought to convince voters that the situation could have been far worse. He puts some of the blame for the sluggish recovery on congressional Republicans, accusing them of blocking his proposals for creating jobs. 

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serious wrote:
As any Econ 101 will tell us, the growth rate in the USA is 2 1/2 % per year. GDP must go us that much, employment and inflation to keep a healthy economy. With Obama's background I can see why he doesn't get it. Now that Bush is 3 1/2 years away, he now blames Congress--the D Congress that dominated both houses when he took office and did nothing for the country but get us further in debt. A revamping of our roads and bridges would have worked--but the shovel ready stimulus money went to states and they used that to pay their public employees. Four more years????
on August 3,2012 | 07:08AM
9ronboz wrote:
business owners, do not forget what BHO said regarding your success!
on August 3,2012 | 07:21AM
Pacej001 wrote:
If only these numbers were real. They're not. The jobs growth, bad on the face of it, barely above the number of new entrants in the job market, is based on inflated seasonally adjusted jobs figures. Go to Zero Hedge to see what's really going on.
on August 3,2012 | 07:28AM
saveparadise wrote:
Although I do not belong to a party I am leaning right.
on August 3,2012 | 08:44AM
kainalu wrote:
What does Romney care about U.S. jobs? All the jobs that earn his money are overseas. RAISE YOUR HAND IF YOU HAVE "OFF SHORE" ACCOUNTS? ... I didn't think so.
on August 3,2012 | 08:58AM
ufried wrote:
on August 3,2012 | 10:34AM
ufried wrote:
on August 3,2012 | 10:35AM
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