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
Eric, and the 750,000 jobs lost a month under the failed Republican Administration was better, how?
Any job increase number is a good sign of economic recovery. But this is not due to Obama's policy whatsoever. The job number data clearly show that of the jobs added, 390,000 were in the government, with the private sector adding 41,000 jobs, down from 218,000 in April. This means the jobs created by the private sector accounts for only less than 10% of total jobs added. Obama grows the government but not the jobs!
I think I'm going with the GOP on this one. O'blamer will say anything to make himself look better. Even fudge on the job numbers.
Obama can spin his head off, but the market does not lie – it plummeted. Anyone who thinks that adding 400,000 public sector jobs (90%) and its overhead to our already over-bloated budget, versus a paltry 40,000 private sector jobs is GOOD news, must be smoking what's in Obama's pipe...
if obama holds up a blue pen the gop will call it red and then call obama socialist for calling the pen blue just to disagree with him and argue.
"Of the jobs added, 390,000 were in the government, with the private sector adding 41,000 jobs, down from 218,000 in April."
So... the 41K tax payers have to pay the 390K federal employees...
And this is good how?
On the one hand Cantor says: "Count me among the millions of Americans who welcome a jobs report that shows jobs gained rather than more jobs lost,"
On the other hand Steele says: "No amount of spin will resolve the fact that the President's policies have been a colossal failure when it comes to creating jobs."
Count me among the millions of Americans who are sick and tired of hearing these do-nothing, lying, obstructionist, just-out-to-line-their-own-pockets JERKS try to spin every single thing into a slam against the President!
To Republicans: A job is a job, are you willing to give up your government job.
He hired 400,000 of the 431,000 people and he thinks the economy is getting better??
Who's advising Obama on the jobs report. He's spinning it instead of telling the facts. He left that job to a Republican!
Mr. Obama -be straight with the American people – we can read too.
the GOP doesn't WANT to have positive job numbers unless they are in power. All those people who took those temporary census jobs should still be counted as unemployed if you listen to the Republicans. The worst thing that can happen for them is for the economy to start to turn around under Obama.....that leaves them NOTHING to run on since they've done NOTHING since Obama took office.
Only 41,000 were private section. The rest were the expanding government that Obama loves. Temporary Census jobs shouldn't count, especially when some of the workers reported being layed off and rehired to fudge the numbers.
When will the president focus on creating permanent private sector jobs? I guess it won't be while hes's playing basketball or hanging out with Paul.
Who cares what the party of now says. Why dont they try and do something about it. They think say NO is going to get them re elected. I hope the american people can see how they are bringing down the country.
The Obama propoganda spin machine has been spewing garbage since the first day he took office and has not slowed down since. He continues to overstate, exagerate and flat out lie about what his policies will do or have done. And mistates to his advantage the positions of those opposed to him.
The truth is the stimulus has grown government and created government jobs. It has done almost nothing for the private sector. The growth of government and government jobs is all on borrowed money and has added hundredes of billions to the deficit.
Only growth of millions of private sector jobs can save our economy and put our nation on a sustainable path for the future.
Obama's big government, anti business and anti private sector policies are going to lead us to a bankrupt future.
Would be nice if the GOP were man enough to state that their economic policies were the cause of all this, starting with Nixon and going downhill with Bush and Reagan.
There is a lot of work on the banking systems, Wall Street and accounting that the GOP is blocking. But, guess their being re elected is more important than the country.
Ofcourse the GOP are going to disagree . The GOP brought nothing to the table to help the economy , but criticism. They have NO plan on how to run this country , but stupudity , and ignorance. Tyring to keep the american people divided and mad.
Thanks President Obama, It's lot better than it would be under "I don't know anything about economics" McCain and "I don't know anything about anything" Sarah Palin. Thanks for looking out for the hardworking "little folks" in America and the ones who can't help themselves anymore. Now I can start to see my tax money working for me and my mother's tax money working for her after working two jobs all her life.
"We need to put our economy back on track," adds Steele.
Hey Steele, who sent the economy off track? Was it not GOP? We are tired hearing your slogans: "we want our country back", "drill baby drill" etc. etc. They no longer sound good in our ears!
"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
Yeah, well, Steele, you are correct about buyer beware. Been there, done that for the 8 long years Bush was in charge. Been there, done that with GOPer fear mongering as well. NOTHING can be worse than where we stood as a country back in 07-08.
Fact is, all you GOPers would find fault in an Obama sneeze, and try to pass it off as anti-America toxin.
Yes 9.7% is unacceptable,however this started with Bush and was in free fall before President Obama took office. Cantor and his buddies in the GOP just can't stand the fact that the current presidents policies are working, which means that economic recovery will continue to boost the Democrats chances of keeping the majority. So, we'll take the current unemployment numbers, our approval ratings, and let's not forget that President Obama has special operations troops in 75 countries ready to go after Al Quaeda at a moments notice. So, what is the GOP going to whine about next?
More hypocrisy from the Party of No.
>"No amount of spin will resolve the fact that the President's policies have been a colossal failure when it comes to creating jobs."
Wrong. No amount of Republican spin will change the fact that thanks to you, the economy collapsed, and no thanks to you, it's on the road to recovery. No amount of spin can cover your sorry behinds that you not only caused this economic collapse, but you also say and do anything to prevent its recovery for purely partisan reasons.
Tell us Mr. Cantor, why do you and your fellow Republicans so hate America, that you'll sacrifice your fellow Americans' jobs, homes, and health insurance just to try and divert blame from your own failed policies?!
Why do you hate America?
Blah blah blah, more negativity from the Republicans. They are mad because unemployment is dropping? Fighting over some dang numbers...it is truly sad when a party's only fight is to constantly spin negativity. The party of No has sunk to a new low.
what about all the ones who have just gave up looking,,, its still bleak ...the problem the president has is likes to campain and give speaches ,, but he cant get anything done ,, economy ,, the middle east ... gulf oil spill... all he does is give speaches...he is all hat..
41,000 jobs in the private sector were created this month.......It would have been more, but w/ the Euro slipping and reaking havoc on the markets in May, employers got a little nervous.......As far as census jobs, all 411,000 of them, these people will stimulate the economy, b/c everything they spend goes to the private sector, except the taxes on all things, that goes to state, and federal gov..........Listen a job is a job is a job.............Those w/ temp jobs, will now go look for perm jobs.........All you complainers need to get a grip.......Yes we know you hate Obama, blah, blah, blah........But let's be clear LAST year January 2009, America was losing 750,000 jobs a month........that has STOPPED......we are now gaining jobs........I am optimistic, and zealous, and resilient about our future........We will be fine......We will be stronger.
Obama 2012. Period point, blank.........
How dare the 50 million that didn't vote for Obama, now after a year and a half act like it's his fault.......
Obama's presidency is ending its 'later' stages.