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
There are many people here who are either naïve or blindly biased. They ignore the simple truth that Obama has neither caused the severe problems we have nor will his efforts to resolve the problems be as costly as doing nothing, as returning to more of the same that actually was the cause. There are those Special Interests and select few who seek to deceive people and to manipulate public opinion into supporting the return to more of the same, as it would once again greatly benefit them; should they succeed there is simply no doubt it would be a continuation of a catastrophe for the vast majority. For people to refuse to see that, to reject what has already been learned, is self-delusional and self-defeating and no amount of rationalizing will ever soften the fall. Looking at the significant costs we are suffering now will give a true insight into what to expect. There is the truth or subterfuge – one is freeing and the other victimizing, the choice is ours!
It is easy to lower the unemployment rate by adding gov jobs. The problem is how do you pay for the added salaries. I would love an answer to that one. Growing the govt. is not an answer to our debt, or jobless rate. The funny part is that Obama said that the economy is recovering but we should expect to see ups and downs to come. He contradicted himself. With things as bad as they are if the economy is recovering we should see massive private sector growth.
Have you looked at the stock market today. You are so full of it 390,000 government jobs that will go away in two months what a joke.
The snake oil salesman is back.
Once again the Republicans wishing for American to fail. They are so un-American.
And all the jobs created under the republicans got us to this point of unemployment. Along with the deregulation of wall street and the oil industry. And living in FL I can't wait to try fresh oil balls fried to a golden brown with cocktail sauce. I think I'll switch from independent to republican because they are right on sooooo much.
Lets not forget that Obama is just trying to fix what the Republican policies did to our country this last decade. No one said it would be easy. The Republicans really messed up this country and they have no credibility at this point.
I doubt all the temporary census workers will be in the dealership buying trucks. Aside from them, at 41,000 jobs a month, we'll recover the 8.4 million jobs lost in about 17 years. That doesn't sound like the indiscriminate spendng program is working very well.
And this is a suprise? Repubs can never admit to two things: 1. that they did anything wrong. 2. That someone other than them did anything right.
"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"
Really? Really??? 390,000 government jobs and the lowest level of private sector hiring all year is economic recovery???
Hey Obama... why don't you take some of the money you're blowing on your social experiments and use it to go buy a clue?
Leave it to the party of NO to desperately try to turn good news into bad.
Funny how CNN cuts off the story and puts the pro-Obama message first.
This is how newspapers work as well bad news about Oweblamo goes WELL inside the paper and good news is splashed above the fold as SOME people just browse the news and don't actually read it in depth.
Facts ARE that almost 400,000 of these jobs are census worker jobs that are part time and short time, but we can't expect this lying fraud of a coward to speak the truth even from uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh, uh his binkyprompter.
And the GOP's number one job is to keep consumer confidence as low as possible through distortion and lies.
This they get paid for very well.
If the GOP and Steele welcome job growth, then do something to help the American people get jobs, it's not about helping yourself hold onto your political career. Americans need jobs whether they are democrat or republican, the GOP just don't get it.
Economists have said..........In order for the unemployment rate to get back down to 7%.................
250,000 jobs per MONTH--will need to be created over the next 5 years.
And, after billions of 'stimulus' dollars spent over a year ago--we are supposed to be happy because 41,000 jobs were created? There were more people who lost their jobs during this time-–than jobs that were created.
Tick tick tick..........Only 5 months until the November elections. I have never in my life wished for Summer to race by.......But, I am now- counting down the days until the November elections.
Sure, there's some fool's gold in the May numbers, but for Republicans to pretend to have even a shred of credibility on job creation is laughable.
Republicans can't STAND the notion that the economy may actually be IMPROVING under President Obama!
Have some cheese with your whine!
390,000 government jobs!! Holy Cow! How does he expect us to keep paying for these jobs?? Get ready Middle Class, Obama has fleeced the rich and you are next......
It's not a "colossal failure" to see an uptick in the jobs picture. What is a colossal failure is hearing one political party still firmly entrenched in believing that "trickle down economics" works.
The government is issuing misleading numbers, by putting temporary government jobs into the figures, which are basically not real.
The reality is.....jobs are still trickling in, and the June numbers should show a sharp increase in unemployment, yet again.
I do agree to some extent that these latest job numbers should be stamped "buyer beware". However, the numbers are better. The President said the stimulus would help stimulate job growth, so if the majority of these jobs are public sector, well then that's the stimulus doing it's job. But let's be honest, here. Michael Steele has no concept of reality. Making the issue out to be strictly Obama's fault is crap. It's politics, something he is really bad at. I like Obama, but he needs to really back up his words with strong financial reform.
431,000 jobs were created, almost all of them temporary census workers. Obama exclaims "The economy's getting stronger by the day!" So is anybody still buying Obama's disingenuous BS?
Four months past his State of the Union where he said "That is why jobs must be our number-one focus in 2010..." and a year and a half after he stated "It’s an agenda that begins with jobs" in his 2009 SOTU speech and this is where we're at. It would be nice if he had actually focused on making sure jobs were being created above all of his agenda stuff he's been focused on for the past 18 months, but it hasn't. So he resorts to slapping lipstick on a pig month after month and thinking we're stupid enough to buy it.
Cantor, running his stupid mouth again.
We always get jobs numbers from the Labor Department.
Cantor, before you open your mouth try engaging your brain.
the rate went down because the work force was smaller....some people have just quit looking...and the Census jobs will go away...the market knows what is really going on, hence todays crash...be wary, extremely wary of any spin coming out of this regime
"We have to begin to address the structural deficiencies in our economy."
And you do that through proper regulation, not relying on the trickle-down, deregulatory, randian "greed-is-good" economic model. Suck it up, GOPers. Your "free market" ideology is a big, fat, tapdancing failure and the statistics prove it.
Private sector jobs generate wealth that grows our economy.
Public sector jobs that use tax dollars are net neutral to the economy because they merely transfer cash from taxpayers to bureaucrats.
Census jobs funded with deficit spending damage the economy because they do not generate wealth and increase the interest payments on our national debt.
Interest payments on national debt is wealth lost for the return of no goods and services.