Republicans were guarded about the March job figures released by the Labor Department today, with the vice chairman of the Joint Economic Committee calling an economic recovery “low and late.”
Payrolls rose far less than expected for the month as the unemployment rate fell to 8.2 percent, the lowest in three years. But the household survey showed a corresponding drop in labor-force participation.
“At his point in the recovery, we should have already been creating a steady 200,000 to 400,000 new jobs a month a full year ago,” said Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), also a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
The private sector added 121,000 jobs in March while government positions fell by 1,000.
“There’s no question Americans are working as hard as ever to create new jobs and opportunities despite all the obstacles government is throwing in their way,” House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said. “Just think what could be achieved if Washington started being part of the solution instead of the problem and took steps to liberate the world’s greatest economy from the shackles of big government.”
The labor force dropped 164,000 workers. People not in the labor force has hit an all-time high of 87,897,000.
“Compared to the last time we came out of a deep recession, back in the 1980s when unemployment rose to 10.8 percent, the recovery we are said to be experiencing has been relatively weak,” Brady said. “In the 25 months following the low point for private sector employment during the Reagan presidency, private sector jobs grew by more than 7 million. If private sector jobs had increased this time at the rate they did under Reagan, another 6.3 million people would today be employed in private sector jobs than are under President Obama.”
“That would be a job for half of the individuals today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics counts as unemployed,” he added.
“The monthly jobless numbers are just a quick snapshot of the economy, so while it is welcome news that around one hundred thousand jobs were created last month, there’s more to the picture,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said. “The level of growth we are seeing isn’t enough to make a difference for the millions of Americans still out of work or families facing high gas prices and the uncertainty of a lagging economy.”
“President Obama’s response has been to double-down on the desperate demagoguery and false promises he so frequently employs,” Republican Policy Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) said.
UPDATE: The White House just released its statement on the jobs report, though in-person comment from Obama is likely to come when he addresses Valerie Jarrett’s women and the economy forum later. “As the administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision,” chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Alan B. Krueger wrote. “Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report, and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.”
“Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue to make smart investments that strengthen our economy and lay a foundation for long-term middle class job growth so we can continue to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began at the end of 2007.”