The Labor Department reported today that U.S. employers added an unexpectedly strong 163,000 jobs, but the unemployment rate rose to 8.3% from 8.2%.
Despite July's job gains, the economy remains weak more than three years after economists declared the recession had ended in June 2009. Growth slowed to an annual rate of 1.5 percent in the April-June quarter, down from 2 percent in the first quarter and 4.1 percent in the final three months of 2011.
So what does this mean for the presidential race? Well, each side will focus on what advances their argument.
Ethan Klapper notes:
If you're a Democrat, your number is 163,000. If you're a Republican, your number is 8.3 percent.
UPDATE: Mitt Romney is calling the unemployment rate "a hammer blow."
“Today's increase in the unemployment rate is a hammer blow to struggling middle-class families. Yesterday I launched my Plan for a Stronger Middle Class that will bring more jobs and more take home pay.
My plan will turn things around and bring the economy roaring back, with twelve million new jobs created by the end of my first term. President Obama doesn’t have a plan and believes that the private sector is ‘doing fine.’ Obviously, that is not the case. We’ve now gone 42 consecutive months with the unemployment rate above eight percent. Middle class Americans deserve better, and I believe America can do better.”