President Barack Obama and Republican nominee-to-be Mitt Romney had sharply contrasting reactions to Friday’s jobs report, which showed that the economy added a net 163,000 jobs.
That number outpaced the expectations of economists, who generally only expected the economy to add about 100,000 jobs. While private sector hiring went up in July — with 172,000 jobs created — the public sector continued to lag behind, losing 9,000 jobs.
Despite these solid numbers, the unemployment rate increased from 8.2% to 8.3%. This surprised economists, who expected it to hold steady. One explanation for how the unemployment rate could have gone up despite the solid job growth is that the two numbers are derived from different surveys; the jobs numbers come from the “establishment survey,” in which the Bureau of Labor Statistics polls businesses, while the unemployment numbers come from the “household survey,” in which it polls people.
Speaking at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, President Obama stressed that “we’ve now created 4.5 million new jobs over the last 29 months, and 1.1 million new jobs so far this year.”
“Those are our neighbors and family members finding work and the security that comes with work,” he added.
At the same time, the president also noted that the economy is still not as strong as it should be.
“We’ve got more work to do on their behalf, not only to reclaim all the jobs that were lost during the recession, but also to reclaim the kind of financial security that too many, Americans have felt was slipping away from them for too long,” Obama said.
Romney, on the other hand, told reporters in Las Vegas, Nevada that the jobs report was “another hammer blow to the struggling middle class families of America.”
Despite the fact that the numbers were better than anticipated, Romney argued that “I think it’s an extraordinary failure of policy, a failure of leadership, and I think it’s a moral failure for a country as successful and prosperous as our own to go now four years in a mode which feels to many people like a recession.”
Romney used the opportunity to pitch his economic plan, which he claims would add 12 million jobs over 4 years. This number is difficult to fact check, however, given that — as with most of Romney’s plans — the one page “plan for a stronger middle class” is severely lacking in details.