Republicans were quick to jump on a much weaker than expected U.S. jobs report on Friday, looking to use the disappointing data to attack President Barack Obama's economic policies.
The Labor Department report showed that the U.S. economy added just 69,000 jobs in May compared to economist estimates for an increase of about 150,000 jobs.
The weaker than expected job growth contributed to a modest increase in the unemployment rate, which edged up to 8.2 percent, marking the first increase since last June.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called the weaker than expected job report "devastating news for American workers and American families."
"Slowing GDP growth, plunging consumer confidence, an increase in unemployment claims, and now another dismal jobs report all stand as a harsh indictment of the President's handling of the economy," Romney said in a statement.
He added, "It is now clear to everyone that President Obama's policies have failed to achieve their goals and that the Obama economy is crushing America's middle class. The President's re-election slogan may be 'forward,' but it seems like we've been moving backward."
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus also cited the disappointing report as proof that Obama's policies are not working.
Priebus claimed that Obama has failed to live up to his promises to fix the economy in three years and bring the unemployment rate below six percent.
"If elected president, Governor Romney will end President Obama's job-killing policies," Priebus added. "Unlike President Obama, Mitt Romney actually has the experience and the know-how to get our country moving, finally, in the right direction."
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, also took aim at Obama and his colleagues in the Senate, noting that the Republican-controlled House has passed over 30 bills that he claims will create jobs that are stalled in the upper chamber.
Meanwhile, Alan Krueger, Chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, released a statement noting that the problems in the job market were long in the making and will not be solved overnight.
"There is much more work that remains to be done to repair the damage caused by the financial crisis and deep recession that began at the end of 2007," Krueger said.
He added, "It is critical that we continue the President's economic policies that are helping us dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession."
The state of the economy is expected to play a big role in the outcome of the upcoming presidential election, with the strength of the labor market likely to be front and center.
While Republicans claim increased regulation and the threat of higher taxes are stifling job creation, the Obama campaign has suggested that Romney's experience as a venture capitalist does not qualify him to deal with the issues facing the economy as a whole.
by RTT Staff Writer
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