Jobs Report: Little Progess, Much Interpretation

(Image Credit: Chris Kleponis/AFP/Getty Images; Paul J. Richards/AFP/Getty Images)

Today's jobs report: Good news or bad news? Depends on whom you talk to.

While the report from the Department of Labor shows that 120,000 jobs were added in March, those jobs were far below the number added in January and February and missed the target number of additional jobs that forecasters expected. In addition, the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 8.2 percent.

Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney expressed worry over the jobs report and said the decreased unemployment rate reflected discouraged workers exiting the job search. Romney released a statement today saying the jobs report is "weak and very troubling" and "shows the employment market remains stagnant. Millions of Americans are paying a high price for President Obama's economic policies, and more and more people are growing so discouraged that they are dropping out of the labor force altogether. It is increasingly clear the Obama economy is not working and that after three years in office the President's excuses have run out."

Obama "welcomed" today's news from the jobs report and said, "Right now, no issue is more important than restoring economic security for all our families in the wake of the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression," at today's White House Forum on Women and the Economy. The White House   said the report provides "further evidence that the economy is continuing to recover."

But the White House was was cautious in taking too much stock in the report's indicators. "Monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile," the White House said in the statement. "It is important not to read too much into any one monthly report." During the forum, the president qualified the good news again, saying, "it's clear to every American that there will still be ups and downs along the way, and that we've got a lot more work to do."

Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger  wrote in a White House blog that more action is needed to keep up momentum toward economic recovery. "It is critical that we continue to make smart investments that strengthen our economy and law 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," Krueger wrote. "Despite adverse shocks that have created headwinds for economic growth, including weak construction investment, the economy has added private sector jobs for 25 straight months, for a total of 4.1 million jobs over that period."

In addition, Members of Congress put in their two cents with various statements this morning. Republicans highlighted Obama's "failed economic policies" as the reason for stagnant growth and Democrats cited the report's numbers as signs of an improving economy.

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