June 4th, 2010
08:48 AM ET
8 years ago

May jobs report a political mixed bag

The unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent in May.

The unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent in May.

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.

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."

President Barack Obama is expected to comment on the unemployment report later Friday morning.

UPDATE 9:22 a.m.:

"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

Filed under: unemployment
soundoff (54 Responses)
  1. AnneP

    Leave it to a Repub. to find something negative in the positive. Are we sick of this yet? Jobs are great, not matter where they come from! Try being without one. NO to the GOP!

    June 4, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  2. Robert

    You can add only so many census jobs. The numbers were extremely disappointing and there is absolutely no way anyone (Dem/Repub/Ind) can put a positive spin on it.

    June 4, 2010 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. Bob in PA

    390,000 were in the government – What the ... ?
    Obama iand the Dems in Congress are bankrupting the average taxpayer. These guys have got to go !

    June 4, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  4. VAVoter

    Hello, Earth to Mr. Steele! The private sector is not creating jobs because it doesn't want to! PERIOD. They could if they wanted to, but their primary concern is maintaining a particular profit margin, so as to finance their lifestyles. And anything that cuts into their profit margin, like creating jobs, is not going to happen. When is America going to wake up and realize that businesses are in business for ONE THING ONLY...TO MAKE MONEY! They could care less about the unemployed or about American families, or about giving benefits to their employees. If they could create robots to do what employees do, and still make money, they would.

    June 4, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  5. New Age Independant

    431,000 jobs added. Less 411,000 census jobs, equal a whopping 20,000 jobs when 500,000 were expected. Granted alot of these were likely expected to be summer jobs, but this news only underscores the continued failing economy. Granted, any positive number are welcome, but I cant help recall how Democrats were blasting bush for seasonal bumps due to temp jobs. Any bets that they will try to portray this differently? Libs are so predictable...

    June 4, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  6. Fair is Fair

    Steele is 100% spot-on correct.

    Peel back the layers of the onion and you will find that private sector hiring was at it's lowest level of the year.

    Hiring of government employees is counterproductive – the funds used come directly from the private sector and only exacerbate the problem.

    This administration is completely inept.

    June 4, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  7. valwayne

    Obama's plan to get UNEMPLOYMENT down seems to be for the Government to hire everybody? Obamanomics: You work for the Government, You belong to a Union working for a company owned by the Government, You are UNEMPLOYED!!!

    June 4, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  8. Hammerer

    Sales job on the jobless numbers. 431,000 new jobs in May, 411,000 of those were temp. census gov jobs. Jobless rate dropped from 9.9% to 9.7% in May because 322,000 workers dropped out of the job market.
    So what we have is more smoke from the gov and media to present an illusion of improvement to sale an untruth to the public.
    Politics as usual!

    June 4, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  9. katiec

    Steele, when are you and all republicans going to admit that because of your horrendous decisions, total, undying support for Wall St,, spending like there was no tomorrow, unwarranted war, unfunded medicare prescription plan (to get votes and try to destroy Social Security), destruction of the education system, policies to protect, support and benefit big business, with permission to destroy our environment have implemented the destruction of our country??
    When is the republican party going to put the welfare of our country and the American people over personal gains, goals, anger, hate and hypocrasy?
    Never before in the history of our country have we been faced with a political party that totally ignores our survival and obstructs anything and everything regardless of our country's needs, promotes a continuation of the destruction they created.

    June 4, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  10. Rob in MO

    We are making real progress in cleaning up the terrible economic mess Geaorge bush's administration created. The poor Republicans are having apoplexy trying to explain away Obama's successes. It's disgusting that some of them actally want to see the economic misery continue, for crass political purposes.

    June 4, 2010 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  11. a in austin

    Where's the GOP ideas? There hasn't been any. No input – no comment allowed. BUT it says something when these 2 are the first to comment!

    June 4, 2010 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  12. Mike

    Hey, I can be a Republican politician too. All I have to do is say this is very disappointing and its all the current administrations fault. Any suggestions? Nope, I just want to point out that I am not the president, and everything that happens is his fault. DO SOMETHING! Apparently the Republicans congressional duty is to just sit and point.

    June 4, 2010 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  13. Lawrence Miller

    The typical Republican leadership position is to make negative comments, instead of finding a way to help they look for the dark cloud, always exposing their chicken little mentality. Instead of always finding some way to attack the President maybe they should try to work with him in order to find solutions for the American people. In that way maybe people will find that they are reasonable and willing to work in the best interest of all, instead of seeking an edge in finding a way back to power as their main and only goal.

    June 4, 2010 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  14. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    Of 431,000 new jobs 390,000–90%–were in government.

    This is Obama's "stimulus" at work–the only thing it's stimulating is the size of the horde of over-paid government bureaucrats whose principal job is telling American citizens what they're allowed and not allowed to do.

    Government jobs aren't "real" jobs, at least not in the sense of growing the economy. Government employees create no goods for sale or export; few government employees provide services people would voluntarily pay for. They're basically expensive parasites.

    Obama owes much of his election to the support of unions, including government employees unions like AFSCME and SEIU. His "stimulus," ninety percent of which is doing nothing but increasing the size of government and the number of essentially parasitical government employees, is nothing more than a payback, at the trillion-dollar expense of American taxpayers, to those unions.

    In the Declaration of Independence, one of the condemnations of King George III was that "He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance." Isn't that exactlly what King Obama is doing?

    June 4, 2010 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  15. hayden zeke

    Hey, I know, Trickle-down, let's try Trickle-down.

    Or, here's the Republican plan:

    June 4, 2010 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  16. NVa Native

    The GOP of deniers is in full swing trying to try to deny the facts ..... again with the hopes to degrade our President ... at any cost.
    Economically (and socially) things are getting better no matter how the GOP tries to stop it from happening.
    The GOP is against the American people because their interests (corporations and political power) are better served if we fail.

    June 4, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  17. db

    "Mixed bag"? Considering the billions that the federal government has thrown away on "stimulus", this is nothing short of a scandal!

    June 4, 2010 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  18. Baby Boomer

    While I'm not sure 390,000 jobs should have been added to the Federal Gov't employment rolls, I can guarantee the folks who got hired don't care if they are gov't jobs or private sector jobs. As long as the money is green.

    One more thing. If any of those jobs were created to help get control of some of the regulatory slack the United States has had for the past 20 plus years, I'm all for that. The Gov't has been asleep at the wheel for far too long. One man can't keep an eye on everything but perhaps he can see (with the help of his administration) when things aren't being monitored or no upgraded technology is being used to solve our problems. I'm thinking fresh blood and new ideas are needed to solve the mulitude of issues we face now. New employees bring with them new ideas, some of the latest and greatest technology, etc. I think it's just what we need.

    Steele is an idiot...

    June 4, 2010 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  19. Dean

    Government payrolls other than Census declined by 21,000 jobs in May.
    This is not a good sign. The government never lays anyone off.

    June 4, 2010 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  20. James Brooklyn N.Y.

    The only thing that is failing is the republicans commitment to change. They are blocking progress on everything and are unwilling to act. They hope by doing nothing the country will remain as bad as it was when they were in charge and Americans (the dumb ones) will vote them back in.

    June 4, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  21. Bill from GA

    Do the Repugs have any answers other than cut taxes, deregulate business, and complain about and fight against anything the Dems do?

    June 4, 2010 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  22. Mark from Louisiana

    How many of those new jobs are people hired by the census, trained, and then work two or three days and get laid off, the next week they are rehired, trained again, work two or three days and get laid off, then the next week they are rehired, retrained, work a couple of days and get laid off again, then the next week it continues......................

    June 4, 2010 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  23. Darrell

    So, let me get this right: the Republican policy moved this country to 750,000 job lost per month, which Americans it difficult to pay their housing costs, food costs, etc. Now that jobs are being created so that people can actually spend money to help the economy grow, the Republicans are critical. Remember: their policies had a negative effect on the Am. economy, while Obama's policies are having a positive effect on the Am. economy. For you Obama haters, please think before you join the Republicans in being critical...Do you really want an economy that is moving down (Republicans) or an economy that is moving up (Obama)? Now if you hate Obama that badly and select the Republicans side, I truly feel for you people.

    June 4, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  24. PalmReader

    So a 431, 000 jobs gain isn't good enough for either the GOPers or CNN?

    Perhaps if the GOPers (and all media for that matter) had been paying attention in . . . say, 2000 – 2006 . . . our country might not have had to dig itself out of the chaos and destruction left by the conservative mind-set of GOP ideology.

    I am done listening to the GOP . . . or any media covering the Tea Party as if it is a viable 3rd party as CNN has done this past year . . . happily mocking all that President Obama has accomplished.

    June 4, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  25. Deborah/Kansas City

    Remembering that it was Republican polices and actions that crashed the economy and caused the loss of millions of jobs, jobs that may never return, Republican deregulation and privitization of our important industries, that caused the financial crash and the oil disaster. We really want to hear more about how these same old Republican ideas will somehow majically fix things. Thank God we have President Obama. I only need to see President Bush talking to realized how lucky we are that the rebpublicans are not still in power.

    June 4, 2010 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
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