May 2nd, 2014
10:52 AM ET
5 months ago

Political battle over jobs report

Washington (CNN) - A mostly positive jobs report Friday didn't stop Republicans from criticizing the White House over the economy.

Soon after the Labor Department announced that the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs last month (more than economists had predicted), some top Republicans went on the attack.

And the number they pointed to was the overall unemployment rate, which at 6.3% is the lowest level since September 2008, two months before Barack Obama was elected President. While that sounds like good news, the report notes that the jobless level, which comes from a survey of households, showed fewer people entering the workforce.

"While it's welcome news that more of our friends and neighbors found work in the past month, this report also indicates more than 800,000 Americans left the workforce last month, which is troubling," House Speaker John Boehner said in a statement.

There was similar language coming from the Republican National Committee

"We're happy that more Americans were able to find work last month, but more and more people are dropping out of our workforce-giving up on finding a job. These are men and women who desperately need work and want work, but with the same labor force lows from the Carter economy, there are simply no jobs for them," RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement.

Boehner, Priebus, and others in the GOP went on to criticize the President and Democrats in Congress over their economic policies and proposals.

The White House praised the report, but said there's more work to do.

"The President continues to emphasize that more can and should be done to support the recovery, including acting on his own executive authority to expand economic opportunity, as well as pushing Congress for additional investments in infrastructure, education and research, an increase in the minimum wage, and a reinstatement of extended unemployment insurance benefits," Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Adviser, said in a statement.

And a top Democrat in the House used the report to once again slam Republicans for shooting down Democratic Party pushes on income equality.

"Congress must do more to create an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy. Unfortunately, Republicans continue to stand in the way. Men and women in our country working full-time jobs are stuck raising their families in poverty, yet Republicans refuse to raise the minimum wage," said House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

View from Main Street

The positive news from Wall Street and Washington may not be resonating on Main Street. Many people just don't feel that good about things, and national polling indicates most people don't feel very optimistic about the economy and their personal plight.

Less than three in 10 questioned in an ABC News/Washington Post poll released this week said they describe the economy as good or excellent, with more than seven in 10 saying economic conditions in the country are not so good or poor. And only 28% say the economy's getting better, with 36% saying things are getting worse and 35% saying things are staying the same.

Just 27% of Americans say the country's heading in the right direction, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey out this week. More than six in 10 say the U.S. is on the wrong track.

"Because the recovery has been relatively modest, moderate in its strength, there's this psychology among people that it's just not getting better out in America," said CNN Chief Washington correspondent John King.

Special CNN coverage of 2014 midterm elections

The economy remains the top issue on the minds of voters. Economic realities, as well as perceptions, will influence voters in 2014. The big question is whether those economic realities, and perceptions, will change between now and the November midterm elections.


Filed under: 2014 • Economy • Jobs • unemployment
soundoff (43 Responses)
  1. 82ndABNVET

    Considering that there are over 92 million Americans not currently in the job market, which brought down the overall unemployment rate, as they are not included in this report..............sure...........great job.

    NOT.

    So, we don't count people that have been unable to find a job after they are out of work for X amount of time? Nice.

    Don't worry, you don't count anymore.

    When will people learn that liberal policies are a hindrance to job growth, wage increases, and prosperity?

    May 2, 2014 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  2. Bessy

    Reggie53
    the 6.3% does not show the true picture of people who are still unemployed. When a person drops out of unemployment records they should be regarded as being still unemployed. How can you just forget these people when they do not have a job and they are not collecting unemployment benefits.....they are still unemployed. Also people on welfare should be counted as being unemployed because they are not in the workforce and they are collecting government benefits. This a false report and I am sure the true unemployment is closer to 12% than to the 6.3% that the labor department has put out. False information is no better than no information. It is worse because it is deceiving the American people into thinking that things are getting better but they are not. Actually they are getting worse and we are sinking more into that hole that Obama has dug for us.
    ______________________________
    Wow Reggie ! You really have to stop listening to Push Limbaugh and the gang over at Fox News. Do some homework of your own instead of relying on their lies.

    May 2, 2014 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  3. Bessy

    Yeah, yeah ! I typed " Push " instead of " Rush ". Sorry about that.

    May 2, 2014 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  4. yerkiddinright

    GOP: Well it looks like good news for the economy. BENGHAZI! BENGHAZI!

    May 2, 2014 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  5. Gunderson

    Well I wonder,
    Some think passing a (Jobs Bill) will fix everything. If that were the case it would be law a long time ago. There have been plenty of things put in place to "Fix Things". The democrats had the Congress for 40 years. And still things are no better. As long as the liberals try to "Fix Things" you can expect more failures. Nothing has changed since the 1930's. With the latest "Fix", Obama Care, you can expect jobs to stay scarce. Some think the government owes you a job, health care, housing, groceries, etc, etc, etc. Sorry. The Constitution gives you the right to do it on your own, hands down.

    May 2, 2014 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Bill

    The GOP is a lost cause. They would carp if a million jobs were created. Losers. And they will be in November too.

    May 2, 2014 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    the 6.3% does not show the true picture of people who are still unemployed. When a person drops out of unemployment records they should be regarded as being still unemployed. How can you just forget these people when they do not have a job and they are not collecting unemployment benefits
    -------------------------------------------------
    You sound just like our resident Nurse Ratched.
    You two should get together and take this up with the Labor Department.

    May 2, 2014 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. smith

    @DM4O-Your right, congress and the GOP hasn`t helped the economy.

    May 2, 2014 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. janice pinkard

    Wonder how many of those who dropped out of the job market are retirees as I and many others plan to do in the very near future. This is a good jobs report but it will never be good enough for the GOP or CNN for that matter.

    May 2, 2014 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  10. Me

    Dead Bear

    If the state of the economy is the biggest issue this November, the GOP will not win in a landslide as they predict. Their party owns the worst track record when it comes to enacting policies to stimulate economic growth. Historically, they have proven themselves terribly inept or utterly clueless when it comes to the subject. Do they think everyone else has forgotten this fact like it seems that their base has? Why even ask Republicans about ways to improve the economy, the only responses you'll get is "cut taxes on the wealthy" and "repeal Obamacare"???

    _____________________________________________
    Really? When was the last recession prior to the great recession? It was in 2001, how long did it take for W to bring us out of that recession? Between 6 months and a year was all! Too bad facts don't agree with your statement....carry on!

    May 2, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    ""Because the recovery has been relatively modest, moderate in its strength, there's this psychology among people that it's just not getting better out in America," "

    GOP/Teatrolls: "Mission Accomplished. Now, what to block next...."

    May 2, 2014 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  12. Me

    If I remember correctly one of Obama's 2008 campaign promises was that he would get the unemployment rate below 6 percent by the middle of his first term (or maybe the end I can't remember) and here we are in the middle of his second term and it is still over 6 percent. I guess we can chalk it up as another one of his failed promises!

    May 2, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  13. Sniffit

    "@DM4O-Your right, congress and the GOP hasn`t helped the economy."

    Actually, they've measurably harmed it. The numbers don't lie. For example, when you look at the numbers, you can see there's an undeniable correlation to them doing things like taking the debt ceiling hostage and threatening to cause the nation to default on its debts with measurable decreases in economic activity. They've sown fear and uncertainty for 6+ years with those kinds of shenanigans and they've done it deliberately to prevent Obama from getting a "win" on the economy. It's not deniable...which is why the MSM so very carefully doesn't even allow mention of such facts...because once that kind of factual turd falls out of the dog, there's no putting it back in.

    May 2, 2014 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "If I remember correctly one of Obama's 2008 campaign promises was that he would get the unemployment rate below 6 percent by the middle of his first term"

    You don't remember correctly. Go do your googles.

    May 2, 2014 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. rs

    Here is the fundamental problem with the GOP in America today:

    They want America to fail. It fits their meme on our duly elected President. They want a bad economy; they want armed conflict; they want racial tension. Everything they do supports these causes, and it doesn't matter that the economy IS improving (with no help from them). They are supporting armed tin pots like the supporters of Mr. Bundy, heavily armed thanks to ALEC and the NRA- actively supporting an anti-government action, taking away the rights of the residents of Nevada. Don't get me started on the GOP on race or ethnic minorities.

    The GOP is a tool for evil in America today.

    May 2, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. Me

    Bessy

    Reggie53
    the 6.3% does not show the true picture of people who are still unemployed. When a person drops out of unemployment records they should be regarded as being still unemployed. How can you just forget these people when they do not have a job and they are not collecting unemployment benefits.....they are still unemployed. Also people on welfare should be counted as being unemployed because they are not in the workforce and they are collecting government benefits. This a false report and I am sure the true unemployment is closer to 12% than to the 6.3% that the labor department has put out. False information is no better than no information. It is worse because it is deceiving the American people into thinking that things are getting better but they are not. Actually they are getting worse and we are sinking more into that hole that Obama has dug for us.
    ______________________________
    Wow Reggie ! You really have to stop listening to Push Limbaugh and the gang over at Fox News. Do some homework of your own instead of relying on their lies.
    _________________________
    Actually Bessy, I studied economics and one of the big areas we focused on was the unemployment rate (all the measurement and different types of rates) and Reggie is spot on! I have never once listened to Rush and don't even know what station he is on (and don't care) and have only read fox new one time in my life (like 2 years ago) and didn't like it (too biased) so I haven't read it again! It does not matter what they said, Reggie's post is accurate.

    May 2, 2014 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. rs

    82ndABNVET
    Considering that there are over 92 million Americans not currently in the job market, which brought down the overall unemployment rate, as they are not included in this report..............sure...........great job.

    NOT.

    So, we don't count people that have been unable to find a job after they are out of work for X amount of time? Nice.

    Don't worry, you don't count anymore.

    When will people learn that liberal policies are a hindrance to job growth, wage increases, and prosperity?
    __________________
    You overlook one tiny fact:
    Ever hear of "Baby boomers"? One of the largest generation post WWII. They are retiring, literally by the thousands right now. That is, they are people willingly separating themselves from the job market. Yes, they are "unemployed" in that they aren't in a job- but it is incorrect to count them with people who are seeking employment.

    May 2, 2014 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  18. Lynda/Minnesota

    "Really? When was the last recession prior to the great recession? It was in 2001, how long did it take for W to bring us out of that recession? Between 6 months and a year was all! Too bad facts don't agree with your statement....carry on!"

    Many might argue that there wasn't a full 2001 recession recovery ... thus leading to near catastrophic economic proportions by culminating in the 2008 "great" recession. How could there be after 9/11 devastated our economy as W and Company went on a "collect later" spending spree?

    Homeland Security. Afghanistan. Iraq. Tax credits. Zero Down Payment Home Loans. There are more such credit card debts ... I've simply lost count.

    May 2, 2014 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
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