President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to put a positive spin on the monthly job report Friday by arguing that meager growth in private sector jobs is moving the economy in the right direction.
“The trendline in private sector job growth is moving in the right direction,” Obama said during a visit to a manufacturing plant in Bladensburg, Maryland.
Pelosi, a California Democrat, said that 64,000 new private sector jobs created in September “shows our private sector continues to lead our economic recovery.”
Former Bush administration Labor Department Secretary Elaine Chao called Pelosi’s comment “pathetic,” and said the economy needs roughly 150,000 new jobs a month simply to keep the unemployment rate steady.
“That’s the sad news that they really think they’re doing a good job, when there is not one person at the White House who has ever been on a private sector payroll, much less operated a lemonade stand,” Chao said on Fox News.
The jobs report released Friday showed that 159,000 government jobs were lost, with 77,000 of those being temporary Census workers.
Republicans sought to use the jobs report Friday to drive home their midterm election message that Obama has failed to revive the economy and create jobs.
National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican, called the jobs report “the final affirmation of the failed job-killing policies of Washington Democrats.”
“It frames the national political debate from now until Election Day,” he said.
The NRCC sent out a list of 20 different Republican candidates in House races that were pounding their Democratic opponents on the jobs numbers.
“After $862 billion in spending through the Federal Stimulus and a $1 trillion health care package, we’re left with 10 percent unemployment and the number of Americans on food stamps to feed their families at a 27-year high,” said Robert Dold, the Illinois Republican running against Democrat Dan Seals in the state’s 10th congressional district.
“The main concern I hear from voters is what Congress is doing to put people back to work, and yet Dan Seals believes we’re on the road to recovery,” Dold said. “This is not recovery.”
American Crossroads, the independent conservative group that has been under fire from Obama and Democrats for running a nonprofit arm called Crossroads GPS that does not disclose donors, used the jobs numbers to fire back at the administration as well. They cited Obama’s comment, along with that of former campaign manager David Plouffe, that outside groups like Crossroads are a “threat to democracy.”
“Obama and Plouffe get it wrong. The real threat to democracy is the dramatic failure of the Obama administration’s economic policies, which have led to another 95,000 Americans losing their jobs and a staggering $1.3 trillion in additional debt reported just yesterday,” said Crossroads spokesman Jonathan Collegio.
“Democrats drinking the Obama-Plouffe Kool-Aid are failing to face America’s real problems, and real Americans will vote them out of office for it,” Collegio said.
Obama’s new Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee got his first taste of what Christy Romer faced for the last two years, writing a preamble to Obama’s midday remarks on the White House blog.
“The economy continues to recover, but we must do more to put the economy on a path of robust economic growth,” Goolsbee wrote.
Goolsbee wrote that private sector employment has risen by 863,000 since December 2009, but added that “it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”
Republican National Committee spokesman Doug Heye seized on that comment and pointed to a detail from an Associated Press report that unemployment has been above 9.5 percent for 14 straight months.
“Austan Goolsbee is right. We shouldn’t read too much into any one monthly report,” Heye said. “Instead, let’s instead focus on the last 14 monthly reports that show unemployment topping 9.5 percent. That provides a much fuller picture on the failure of this administration and this Congress to grow jobs and fix the economy.”