The Obama White House was quick to applaud July's better than expected job numbers while signaling to unemployed Americans that their plight had not been forgotten.
In a sign the economy may be recovering faster than some economists had expected, the nation’s unemployment rate dropped to 9.4 percent in July from 9.5 percent in June. The jobless rate had been expected to rise. And companies cut 247,000 jobs last month rather than the 320,000 that had been projected.
“This is the best jobs report we have had in a year,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters Friday morning in a meeting in his office. “It is more evidence that we have pulled back from the edge and from the brink of a depression.”
Rejoicing in the Rose Garden
President Obama canceled previously scheduled remarks on the economy he was to have given at Fort Myer, Virginia and instead will make an appearance in the Rose Garden at 1:30 p.m. Friday afternoon to hail the improved economic news.
Gibbs was quick to temper his upbeat remarks by saying the administration would not be satisfied until “we put people back to work.” He added, “obviously, we have a lot of work to do.”
The GOP's view
House Minority Leader John Boehner offered a decidedly less optimistic view of the latest economic news. In a statement the Ohio Republican said, “While the hard work and ingenuity of the American people will ultimately bring our economy back, the trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ has fallen woefully short of creating the jobs the Administration promised. Nearly six months ago, the Administration promised its ‘stimulus’ would provide a ‘jolt’ to our economy, create jobs immediately, and hold unemployment below eight percent. Yet more than two million Americans have lost their jobs since the ‘stimulus’ became law. Every American has the right to ask ‘Where are the jobs, Mr. President?’
In defending the Obama administration’s economic policies, Gibbs used a medical metaphor. “The patient was life threatened. The patient is stabilized." Referring to the phased implementation of the nearly $800 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Gibbs said, “Still two thirds of the medicine is yet to be taken by the patient.”
Some bad reports to come
While rejoicing in July’s dip in the jobless rate, the administration admits the rate will likely go higher until employers stop trimming jobs and begin adding them. “We are likely to see the rate go up,” Gibbs said.