Washington (CNN) – The nation's unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent in May, the Labor Department reported Friday.
That's a drop of two-tenths of a percent from April's 9.9 percent level. Analysts had expected to rate to fall to 9.8 percent.
The Labor Department also reports that the economy added 431,000 jobs in May, the biggest monthly gain since March of 2000. But economists had forecasted a gain of 500,000 jobs.
Of the jobs added, 390,000 were in the government, with the private sector adding 41,000 jobs, down from 218,000 in April.
President Barack Obama said Friday that the economy's addition of 431,000 jobs in May is another sign that an economic recovery is underway, though he also warned that there are going to be "some ups and downs" in the months ahead.
"The economy's getting stronger by the day," he said during a visit to a commercial truck dealership in Hyattsville, Maryland.
But Obama said the recovery's "still in its early stages."
"Even if you put those temporary (Census) jobs aside, there's no doubt we saw another month of private sector job growth," Obama said. The president argued that the new jobs numbers were evidence that his economic program is working.
Obama slammed his Republican opponents, arguing that the country "can't go back to the very same policies that failed us in the last decade."
"I don't want to go backward. I want to move forward," he said, echoing a campaign-style theme he stressed earlier in the week in a speech in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
A top Congressional Republican was quick to react to the report.
"Count me among the millions of Americans who welcome a jobs report that shows jobs gained rather than more jobs lost," said Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican Whip. "But a look beneath the numbers should give this Administration – and every American – cause for concern. We have to begin to address the structural deficiencies in our economy. Temporary or government jobs are not optimal, and private sector job growth simply isn't keeping pace with a growing labor force."
"I welcome job growth any day, week or month of the year, but the figures released today need to be stamped with 'Buyer Beware'," says Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele, in a statement.
"The underlying fact is that 9.7 percent unemployment is unacceptable by any standard. No amount of spin will resolve the fact that the President's policies have been a colossal failure when it comes to creating jobs. If his speech in Pennsylvania was any indication, President Obama has no intention of slowing his high-spending, big-government agenda that prevents the private sector from creating the jobs we need to put our economy back on track," adds Steele.
– CNN's Scott Spoerry contributed to this report
So Obama's definition of economic recover is hundreds of thousands of temporary, low paying, census jobs? Obamanomics: You work for the Government, You belong to a union and work for a company owned by the Government, You are UNEMPLOYED!
Anyone applauding these numbers as proof of the recovery, needs to pull their head out of the sand! Take away the 95% of the "new jobs" created by the census, and you end up with almost zilch! Plus, census jobs are temporary! When will this administration realize that government jobs is not the answer! Government jobs weigh down the economy, they do not prop it up! My congresswoman actually said in a speech this week "the cap and trade bill will help American manufacturers become more productive and create jobs by wening themselves off of foreign oil."
What are these people thinking!!!!
41,000 private sector jobs to support 390,000 government jobs. The private sector cannot add more jobs due to the burden of supporting the government jobs. This is upside down and backwards. It also shows that the only real growth is in government. Just like the rising cost of health care was unsustainable so to is the rising burden placed on its citizens by the U.S. Government.
What did you expect....when the numbers were bad, they agreed but now that they are looking good or better they have no choice but to disagree or belittle the gains.
It is part of the GOP mantra – make Obama look bad as much as possible and as far as the media will allow them freedom to make baseless accusations.
Why doesn't he just admit that 90% of the hiring is in the government sector? We can live with more bad news about the economy. We can't live anymore with the white house trying to whitewash the ugly truth.
Ok, number 1, we will have atleast 50 submissions with "he is fixing bush's mess" Which is a fabrication. The president does not fix or damage the economy. The Prez doesn't write dictate how Washington or the rest of the country is run. That is done by the House and Senate. And from a look at the numbers, the country started to improve when Repubs took control during the Clinton administration and had a successful run until the Dems took control during Bush's 2nd term. Sorry boys and girls, look at the numbers. But hey, "Bush did it" is your thing, so run with that.
Point #2. I worry when the majority of the jobs gained are "government jobs" Why? Because they are normally temporary jobs and thus not a long term fix for the problem we are having.
"Obama and GOP disagree on May job numbers"
This is why CNN is losing his place in the news Media.
A Reel Journalist shows what those numbers means for middle class Americans who want to put the food on the table and pick a side and stops be indifferent.
You should play the role of the referee, which is to pick side when the true is clear.
Imagine you watch a football match and after a fault, the referee asks the spectators to help him to pick a side. Imagine what kind of mess it will create not only on the outcome of the judgment but also to people who may want to go to see a match again.
CNN wake up and pick the side or you will lose the leadership if it not too late.
I was sad to see Campbell Brown leaves the news because of this type of journalist that zeroes each side instead show the true between sides.
CHANGE CNN Before it is too late and we will Love YOU Again.
I hope you will publish this message and share it with the management
Those jobs Obama refers to are Government jobs, which do nothing to help anyone. WE need private sector jobs, something Obama seems to know little about.