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Updated: 12:46 p.m.

The nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 9 percent in January, the second month of decline in joblessness in a row.

Even so, the number of jobs added was marginal at just 36,000.

Republicans sought to paint the economic picture as remaining grim — thanks to President Barack Obama’s economic policies — while attempting to take credit for any silver lining that may exist in the unemployment numbers.

“The president’s ‘stimulus’ spending binge isn’t working and has failed to deliver on its promise to keep unemployment below eight percent,” Speaker John Boehner (Ohio) said. “The spending binge is hurting job creation — eroding confidence, draining funds away from private investment, and spreading uncertainty among job creators.”

“There is no doubt that the joint effort to prevent taxes from being raised on families, small businesses and investors helped to restore a sense of certainty to the private sector, but far more needs to be done,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) said in a statement.

“[But] since our joint effort to prevent tax increases, the President and Congressional Democrats have unfortunately returned to lofty political rhetoric and more of the same stimulus-style government spending that failed to create jobs and added to our fiscal woes,” he added.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), called the numbers encouraging but also used them as an opportunity to attack Republicans and accuse them of wanting to shut down the government.

“Today’s news that unemployment fell nearly half a percent is an encouraging sign that our economy is continuing to recover. But families in Nevada and around the country are still struggling. That’s why I urge my Republican colleagues to join us to create jobs, instead of wasting time with pointless, symbolic votes and yesterday’s battles,” he said.

“At this critical juncture, we certainly cannot afford an extreme step like forcing a government shutdown that could send us back into a recession and put Social Security checks, veterans’ benefits and border security at risk. I hope my Republican colleagues will stop playing with fire,” he added.

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