The Republicans wasted no time to attack President Barack Obama on Friday following the release of disappointing payroll numbers by the Department of Labor. Data shows that the U.S. economy created a mere 69,000 jobs in May, well short of the 150,000 that had been anticipated.
Addressing supporters who had gathered at the Honeywell headquarters in Golden Valley, Minn., Mr. Obama acknowledged that the U.S. economy was still showing signs of weakness and was “facing some serious headwinds”. The president also blamed the financial crisis currently affecting the eurozone for the worse-than-expected payroll numbers and urged Congress to adopt some of his growth proposals.
“We’ve had a crisis in Europe’s economy that is having an impact worldwide and it’s starting to cast a shadow on our own as well,” he told his supporters.
However, the Republicans rejected Mr. Obama‘s excuses for the poor job numbers, instead laying the blame directly on the president’s doorstep. Republican lawmakers have often criticized the Obama administration’s economic policies for the state of the U.S. economy, citing for example the absence of a business-friendly environment.
Former Massachusetts governor and presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who described the payroll numbers as “devastating”, is certainly convinced that Mr. Obama is guilty of poor economic management.
“Slowing GDP growth, plunging consumer confidence, an increase in unemployment claims, and now another dismal jobs report all stand as a harsh indictment of the president’s handling of the economy. It is now clear to everyone that President Obama‘s policies have failed to achieve their goals and that the Obama economy is crushing America’s middle class,” Mr. Romney said.
Although the debt crisis currently shaking the eurozone to its core is undoubtedly contributing to the slowing down of the U.S. economy, Mr. Romney insisted that the economic difficulties affecting the country pre-dated the European meltdown.
“This crisis has been going on for 40 months. And unfortunately, you’ve had a president that’s been more focused on his perspective of his historical legislative achievements [the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act] than on getting people back to work,” he said.
Mr. Romney, who feels his corporate experience puts him in an excellent position to solve the economic problems facing the country, told CNBC that the electorate held the solution to their current misery.
“Probably the most significant thing we can do in the near term is to get a new president that understands what it takes to get the economy going,” the former governor stated during the interview.
“It really cries out for us to actually try something new now,” he said.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) echoed his colleagues’ call for a change of administration.
“Millions of Americans have lost their jobs, are looking for work, and it’s time for us to change course and to have real policies that will put Americans back to work,” he said.
The poor payroll numbers mean that the official unemployment rate now stands at 8.2 percent, compared with 8.1 percent in April.