From numerous angles, the August U.S. jobs report was disappointing – except for GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, who used the numbers to blast U.S. President Barack Obama.
The Labor Department reported today (Friday) that U.S. employers added a paltry 96,000 jobs last month.
Unemployment and the economy are two of the most prominent issues of this year's campaign, and Romney seized the opportunity to stake a political advantage following the dreary news.
"If last night was the party, this morning is the hangover. For every net new job created, nearly four Americans have given up looking for work entirely," Romney said in a statement.
He continued stating that President Obama has not made good on his promises, and reiterated the message that the United States is no better off than it was four years ago when the president took office.
Romney pledged to create some 12 million new jobs by the end of his first term.
In a rally cry Romney said, "America deserves new leadership that will get our economy moving again."
U.S. Jobs Report: The Numbers
Fewer jobs were added than forecast, but unexpectedly the unemployment rate ticked down to 8.1% from 8.3%.
Don't get too excited.
The reason for the drop was more frustrated unemployed workers have simply stopped looking for work.
The economy has now logged 43 consecutive months with joblessness over 8%, and growth continues to wane.
Economists had been looking for between 120,000 to 125,000 jobs added in August. In the first quarter of the year, the average monthly job gain was a robust 225,000.
Since then hiring has slowed.
To date, job growth has averaged 139,000 per month since the start of 2012. In 2011, the monthly gain was 153,000.
Another startling number from Friday's U.S. jobs report was the drop in the proportion of the population that is either working or looking for work.
Called the labor force participation rate, the figure dropped to 63.5%, the lowest level in 31 years. The number highlights how in addition to those who have simply stopped looking for a job, scores of America's young adults are staying in school longer in attempts to avoid the dismal job market.
President Obama Asks for Patience
The timing of Friday's U.S. jobs report couldn't have been worse for President Obama, fresh from formally accepting the Democratic nomination Thursday night. It definitely tempered any merry post-party glow.
President Obama has long been blamed for not doing enough to create jobs, not lowering the unhealthy unemployment rate and failing to get the economy moving. Weighing on the president is the fact that that U.S. economy, under his helm, has endured its worst stretch of joblessness since 1948.
With Election 2012 less than two months away, hopes for any job growth have sunk.
The president typically knows the numbers before their release to the public, which could explain his remarks about the lack of progress in healing the struggling economy and his plea for voters to remain patient.
"The truth is, it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over the decades," President Obama said.
Promising that things would improve, the president added, "America, I never said this journey would be easy, and I won't promise that now. Yes, our path is harder, but it leads to a better place. Yes our road is longer, but we travel it together."
The next U.S. jobs report will be released Friday, Oct. 5.
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