(CNN) – A monthly jobs report showing sluggish hiring in March gave Republicans an opening Friday to chastise President Barack Obama's economic policies.
"The president's policies continue to make it harder for Americans to find work," House Speaker John Boehner wrote in a statement released a half hour after the Labor Department report was released. "Hundreds of thousands fled the workforce last month and unemployment remains far above what the Obama administration promised when it enacted its 'stimulus' spending plan."
Friday's report showed 88,000 jobs were added in March, far lower than the 190,000 jobs that economists expected. The unemployment rate fell to 7.6%, though the drop was pegged to 500,000 Americans leaving the workforce.
During last year's election, Obama's record on jobs creation formed the core of rival Mitt Romney's attacks, even as hiring began picking up and the unemployment rate dropped. Republicans have continued attacking Obama's jobs record after the election as the White House and Congressional Republicans grapple over a deficit reduction plan.
Next week Obama will unveil his annual budget, which is expected to make changes to Medicare and Social Security in an effort to reach a deficit deal with Republicans.
In his statement Friday, Boehner said that "one of the best things President Obama can do is follow the House and outline a balanced budget next week – one that includes entitlement reforms that are not conditional on enactment of more tax increases, which will suppress growth instead of encourage it."
Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus cast the March jobs report as a consequence of Obama's focus on upcoming midterm elections.
"What exactly was the president doing in the last month to create jobs as the economy sputtered along?" Priebus asked. "Why did he flit off to San Francisco this week to fundraise on Billionaire's Row instead of sending a budget to Congress? Why is adding money to Nancy Pelosi's campaign coffers more important than adding jobs to the economy?"
Obama's fundraising swing through California began Wednesday evening and continued Thursday with events for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic National Committee.
Priebus also placed blame on Congressional Democrats, whose policies he said were hurting American hiring.
"Why don't liberals admit their big government programs are straining Americans' budgets? Why are they sticking young people with higher insurance costs through Obamacare? Why won't they work with Republicans to strengthen Medicare and Medicaid?" he said.
"Are the president and his fellow Democrats out-of-touch–or just not serious about doing their jobs?" he concluded.
Rep. Eric Cantor, the number two House Republican, wrote it was time for Obama and Democrats in Congress to "stop making excuses and start working together on common sense solutions to address our lingering unemployment problem, and the stagnant economy."
Public polling shows Americans split on who to trust with the economy, Obama or Congressional Republicans. An ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted March 7-10 showed 44% trusted Obama more on the economy and 40% trusted members of the GOP in Congress.
Alan Krueger, the chairman of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, wrote in a statement that "more work remains to be done" to spur hiring.
Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression," Krueger wrote. Similar statements are released after every monthly jobs report. "It is critical that we continue the policies that are helping to build an economy that creates jobs and works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007."