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Unemployment rate falls to 9.4 percent; 103K new jobs in December

WASHINGTON — The national unemployment rate fell to 9.4 percent in December, spurred by an increase of 113,000 jobs, a solid report to start the new year. All told, the private sector gained 1.3 million jobs in 2010.

The message from both Democrats and Republicans in reaction: It’s good, but we need more.

“Today’s jobs report points to an economy that is on the mend but still struggling,” said Rep. John Kline, chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee. “The pace of job creation continues to fall short of what we need to recover from the damage of the past recession, and it underscores the urgency of our efforts to block job-killing policies and regulations and get our fiscal house in order. The federal government cannot demand an economic recovery, but it can give individuals, small businesses, and entrepreneurs the sense of economic certainty they need to spend, hire, and invest.”

“Our economy is showing modest yet promising signs of building steam, and if there was ever a time for Washington to get out of the way, it is now. The strength and resilience of the American people can’t be beat, but bad government policy can slow it down. The last thing working families and small businesses need is more government regulation, spending, and debt.”

Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, sounded a similar tone overall, but with a different prescription.

“The overall trend of economic data over the past several months has been encouraging, due in large part to the initiatives passed by this Administration, but we still have a ways to go,” Goolsbee said. “The measures we worked with Congress to pass last month that continue tax cuts for the middle class and extensions to unemployment insurance are vital to sustaining the recovery. The Administration will also continue to focus on actions that the President has recommended to increase growth and job creation, such as providing incentives to encourage businesses to invest and hire here at home, investing in education and infrastructure, and promoting exports abroad.”

Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi went a step forward, heralding the report while taking a dig at the GOP.

“It’s official — while there’s much more to be done, we created more jobs in 2010 than Bush did in 8 yrs,” she tweeted.

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