Obama, GOP spar over meaning of middling jobs report

WASHINGTON — Absent some dramatic shift, the spin out of today’s job reports will be the same as that each and every month until the November election.

Private-sector jobs were up 83,000 in May, but were offset by the end of part-time Census positions, resulting in an overall decline of 125,000 jobs. The unemployment rate declined to 9.5 percent from 9.7 percent, but much of that was due to would-be workers giving up on their job hunts.

“All told, our economy has created nearly 600,000 private sector jobs this year,” President Obama said. “That’s a stark turnaround from the first six months of last year, when we lost 3.7 million jobs at the height of the recession.”

Republicans, in contrast, didn’t adopt a “sky is falling” metaphor, more that the economy has fallen and it can’t get up.

“The Obama administration’s ‘recovery summer’ is off to a disappointing start, with predictable job losses emerging after the temporary bloat of government Census workers begins to disappear,” said Kline, the top Republican on the House Education and Labor Committee.

“Absent those inflated hiring figures, we’re left with weak private sector job creation that falls far short of what is needed for a true economic recovery. If we continue on the course Democrats have set for the nation, it will take more than six years just to get back the jobs lost since the start of the recession.”

The trouble for Democrats like Obama is that they’ve got to walk the line of noting that jobs are on the upswing while also tempering rhetoric so they don’t sound gleeful while so many are out of work. It’s a difficult tightrope to walk, yet Obama gave it a shot this morning.

“Now, make no mistake:  We are headed in the right direction,” Obama said. “But as I was reminded on a trip to Racine, Wisconsin, earlier this week, we’re not headed there fast enough for a lot of Americans.”

“We’re not headed there fast enough for me, either.  The recession dug us a hole of about 8 million jobs deep.  And we continue to fight headwinds from volatile global markets.  So we still have a great deal of work to do to repair the economy and get the American people back to work.”

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