After three months of weak job creation, a better-than-expected reading in July's U.S. jobs report was welcome, but still isn't anything to get too excited about. Despite the encouraging job gains, the unemployment rate actually ticked up.
The Labor Department reported U.S. payrolls increased by a seasonally adjusted 163,000 jobs in July, better than the 95,000 economists had expected. But, in a separate survey of U.S. households, numbers revealed the unhealthy unemployment rate actually eked up, rising from 8.2% to 8.3%.
"Today's increase in the unemployment rate is a hammer blow to struggling middle-class families," GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said in a statement.
With the November presidential election growing near, the jobs report carries massive political weight.
Not since World War II has an incumbent president attempted re-election with an employment rate over 8%. Since President Obama took office, the unemployment rate has remained elevated and above that key level.
And it's not likely to go down before November.
"We've now gone 42 consecutive months with the unemployment rate above 8 percent," Romney said in a statement. "Middle-class Americans deserve better, and I believe America can do better."