House leaders spent Friday morning putting their spin on a June jobs report that delivered mixed news: The unemployment rate fell to 9.5 percent from 9.7 percent, but the economy shed 125,000 jobs.
The unemployment rate is now the lowest it has been since last summer. Democrats sought to paint the news as proof that their approach to economic recovery is working. And despite a net loss of 125,000 jobs, Democrats emphasized that that number reflects a planned phaseout of 225,000 temporary Census Bureau jobs and that the private sector added tens of thousands of jobs.
“It’s encouraging that the private sector, whose job creation is essential to our recovery, added 83,000 jobs last month,” Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said.
Hoyer conceded that the loss of 125,000 jobs shows that “Americans are still struggling and that much of the work on job creation remains.” But part of the problem is Republicans and their “continued blocking of job-creation measures,” such as the Recovery Act and unemployment insurance extensions, he said, which is “especially irresponsible” in light of the new job numbers.
But Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) called the June job figures “disappointing” and said they reflect “another month, another jobs report that falls short of where we need to be.” He accused President Barack Obama of missing the mark on economic recovery because his policies are adding more to the deficit.
“As the administration continues to spend, our debt keeps piling up, preventing private-sector job growth. Government jobs that are paid for by taxing small-business people and borrowing from the Chinese should not be celebrated by a summer road show,” Cantor said.
Obama said the jobs figures indicate that “we are headed in the right direction,” but that a great deal of work remains.
“We’re not headed there fast enough for a lot of Americans. We’re not headed there fast enough for me, either,” the president said during remarks at Andrews Air Force Base, where he announced 66 new projects aimed at expanding broadband Internet to rural communities. The initiative is expected to create 5,000 jobs in the short term.
“To every American who is looking for work, I promise you we are going to keep on doing everything that we can. I will do everything in my power to help our economy create jobs and opportunity for all people,” Obama said.