In its first reaction to this morning’s jobs report, the White House says the latest figures are “further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal” but that faster growth is needed to put Americans back to work.
“It is critical that we continue the economic policies that are helping us to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the recession that began at the end of 2007,” chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger wrote in a White House blog. “Most importantly, we need to extend the payroll tax cut and continue to provide emergency unemployment benefits through the end of this year, and take other steps the president has proposed in the American Jobs Act.”
Beating expectations, the U.S. economy added 200,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate dropped to 8.5 percent from 8.7 percent in November. Krueger noted that “the drop in unemployment over the month was mostly due to employment growth, not lower labor force participation.”
“Nonetheless, we need faster growth to put even more Americans back to work,” Krueger continued.
As always, the White House stayed cautious, emphasizing that monthly unemployment numbers were volatile and that “it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”