The U.S. economy added a disappointing 80,000 jobs in June, according to a report released Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This keeps the unemployment rate at stagnant 8.2 percent for the second month in a row and could mean trouble for President Barack Obama.
Voters continue to list the economy as No. 1 on their list of concerns this election season, and lackluster job growth makes it difficult for President Obama to convince Americans he has what it takes to propel the economy forward. Despite Obama's recent victory in the Supreme Court's upholding of his landmark healthcare legislation, his public support of gay marriage, and his announcement of a sweeping deportation stay policy for undocumented immigrants, Americans continue to have a one-track mind on presidential policy: They want an improved economy.
In response to the report, Obama said at a campaign stop in Ohio on Friday:
It's still tough out there. We learned this morning that our businesses created 84,000 new jobs last month and that means overall businesses have created 4.4 million new jobs over the past 28 months, including 500,000 new manufacturing jobs. That's a step in the right direction. But we can't be satisfied.
Obama went on to say Washington politics were to blame for the lack of progress.
"What's holding us back right now is not that we don't have good answers for how we could grow the economy faster or put more people back to work," he said. "The problem is we've got a stalemate in Washington. We've got two fundamentally different ideas about where we should take the country and this election is about how we break that stalemate."
Meanwhile, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is using every chance to criticize the president for failing to successfully pull the country out of a recession and create jobs. Romney campaigns heavily on his past as a businessman, saying that his experience lends itself to putting people back to work and jumpstarting the economy.
"This is a time for America to choose whether they want more of the same," Romney said Friday in response to the report. "Whether unemployment above 8 percent month after month after month is satisfactory or not. It doesn't have to be this way, America can do better. And this kick in the gut has got to end."
The Republican candidate spoke from the New Hampshire town where he's currently vacationing. "American families are struggling," Romney said. "There is a lot of misery in America today."
In response to Romney's claims that a businessman would make a better president, the Obama campaign continues to paint Romney as an out of touch millionaire who can't relate to Americans. The Obama campaign also continues to slam Romney for failing to propose concrete alternative policies to things like immigration and healthcare.
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